2021-01-01 06:28:29 ..
2021-04-07 19:43:02 UTC
2021-04-08 12:51:39 UTC --martyb
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U.S. companies are holding on to billions of dollars in cash. Their banks aren’t sure what to do with it.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit last year, corporate executives rushed to raise money. Banks have been holding that cash ever since, and because companies are reluctant to borrow from them, they can’t turn it into income-generating loans. That has weighed on banks’ profit margins, and some have started pushing corporate customers to spend the cash on their businesses or move it elsewhere.
Bankers say they thought the improving economy would reduce companies’ desire for holding cash, but deposit inflows have continued in recent weeks. Chief financial officers and treasurers, many still wary of the pandemic’s impact, say they aren’t ready for big changes, even if they earn little or nothing on their deposits.
[...] Top of mind for many big banks is a rule requiring them to hold capital equivalent to at least 3% of all assets. Worried about the rule’s impact during the pandemic, the Fed changed the calculation in 2020 to ignore deposits the banks held at the central bank, but ended that break this March. Since then, some banks have warned the growing deposits could force them to raise more capital, or say no to deposits.
The transition from DDR4 to DDR5 memory should be swift, according to a new report. Widespread DDR5 adoption should occur in 2022, starting with the server markets and enterprise world, according to a report by industry beancounter Yolle Developpement. Then in 2023, we will finally see widespread DDR5 adoption in the mainstream market, with phones, laptops, and PCs fully utilizing the technology. In fact, we should see more DDR5 ship in 2023 than DDR4, marking a fast transition between the two technologies.
More specifically, estimates have it that we will see a 25% increase in DDR5 adoption in 2022 (thanks to the server market), then an even bigger jump in 2023 to over 50% of market share. Finally, through 2024-2026 we should expect the rest of the market to follow suit with DDR5 adoption, leaving DDR4 at barely 5% of the market.
Word came yesterday that Novavax had very good safety and efficacy in the trial of their recombinant protein vaccine. This is good news. By this point, the vaccine is much less needed here in the US, but it could be a very important part of getting many other countries vaccinated, due to its less demanding storage requirements and (relatively) straightforward production process. The company does intend to file for FDA approval, and is in the last stages of getting all of its manufacturing and quality control procedures ready for that. I hope that this opens up to worldwide usage of this one, and that the company really is ready for large-scale production.
As many readers are well aware, this is a recombinant protein vaccine, not a viral vector (like J&J or the Oxford/AZ vaccines), and not an mRNA one like Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech. I also hope that this allays some of the worries that many people still have about those two platforms: recombinant protein vaccines have been around for longer, so this one would (presumably) be less of a concern for some potential users.
It's a long article but well-worth reading as it explores, debunks, and explains many questions that have been posed concerning the spike protein in the virus SARS-CoV-2 which causes in COVID-19.
A woman's search history has been used by authorities to convict her of murder after her husband died. Natasha Darcy was found guilty of murdering partner Mathew Dunbar with her plans to inherit his $3.5 million farm exposed as she attempted to lie to police about her actions and intent. Key evidence was found in her search history which matched up to physical evidence found.
Natasha Darcy has been found guilty of murdering her partner Mathew Dunbar by drugging him with a sedative cocktail blended in a Nutribullet and gassing him in his bed in a bid to inherit his $3.5 million farm.
In the months before Mr Dunbar was found dead, dozens of incriminating searches were recorded on Darcy's iPhone, among them: "How to commit murder."
A jury of 11 declared the 46-year-old mother guilty on Tuesday after deliberating since last Wednesday.
Mr Dunbar, 42, was a sheep farmer who lived and worked on his property Pandora on the outskirts of Walcha in northern NSW.
Darcy claimed she found her partner of three years in the early hours of August 2, 2017, with a plastic bag over his head that was hooked up to a helium cylinder. She rang triple-0 and he was declared dead at the scene.
The ram sedative acepromazine and medications temazepam, clonidine and seroquel were found in both Mr Dunbar's blood and a dirty blender cup and glass left in the dishwasher.
Darcy pointed to Mr Dunbar's finances, history of depression and suicidal ideation, "unclear sexual orientation" and a severe calf infection he suffered weeks before his death as reasons he might have killed himself.
But her search history told a different story, the jury heard during the 10-week trial in the NSW Supreme Court.
Same things goes for porn and your marriage.
A French nuclear company has said it is working to resolve a "performance issue" at a plant it part-owns in China's southern Guangdong province after an earlier report of a potential leak there.
Framatome, a subsidiary of the energy giant EDF, told Agence France-Presse news agency that it was "supporting resolution of a performance issue" at the plant. "According to the data available, the plant is operating within the safety parameters," it said, adding that an extraordinary meeting of the power plant's board had been called "to present all the data and the necessary decisions".
The statement came shortly after the US TV network CNN reported that Framatome had previously warned the US energy department of an "imminent radiological threat" in a letter.
According to CNN, the letter included an accusation that the Chinese safety authority was "raising the acceptable limits for radiation detection outside the Taishan nuclear power plant in Guangdong province in order to avoid having to shut it down".
Most sensible air travelers dread turbulence. A little atmospheric hiccup can shake airplanes, rattle nerves and spill beverages. A Cornell-led collaboration has found that birds don't mind at all.
By combining wind speed data with the measured accelerations of a golden eagle outfitted with GPS tracking instruments, the researchers suggest that, rather than hindering flight, turbulence is a source of energy that birds may use to their advantage.
This counterintuitive discovery could revise what we know about avian flight, and help the aerospace industry develop faster, more efficient ways to fly in turbulent environments.
[...] While the flight of birds may appear easy and graceful to earthbound spectators, winged animals are actually navigating air flow that is structured, textured and constantly in flux, according to Gregory Bewley, assistant professor in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, who led the team.
[...] In order to take his experiments out of the lab and into the sky, Bewley's team partnered with two groups -- Conservation Science Global and Cellular Tracking Technologies. Scientists from these companies captured a female golden eagle in Alabama, rigged it with a solar GPS telemetry unit with an accelerometer weighing less than 3 ounces, then released the bird.
[...] They found a "highly irregular, fluctuating pattern" in the eagle's accelerations, which resembles the typical trajectories of particles in turbulent airflows. At timescales ranging from 0.5 to 10 seconds -- which translates to approximately 1 to 25 wingbeats -- the eagle's accelerations and atmospheric turbulence were completely in synch.
[...] "If you could find a path in which every vortex is pushing you the right way, then obviously you get there a little faster with a little less energy," Bewley said. "We're still working hard to understand turbulence by itself. I think it's fascinating that there might be some practical empirical knowledge embodied in wildlife that we don't appreciate yet."
Kasey M. Laurent, Bob Fogg, Tobias Ginsburg, et al. Turbulence explains the accelerations of an eagle in natural flight [$], Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2102588118)
New Zealand researchers scoured so-called "grey literature"—including oral records, historic indigenous artworks and non-academic sources—looking for links between Maori people and Antarctica.
"When you put it together, it's really clear, there's a very long history of connection to Antarctica," said project leader Priscilla Wehi from New Zealand's government research institute Manaaki Whenua.
[...] The research, published last week in the Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, found they reached Antarctica long before the first Westerners in the 1820s.
The researchers believe the first voyage to Antarctica waters even pre-dates Maori arrival in New Zealand in the 14th century.
"We find Polynesian narratives of voyaging between the islands include voyaging into Antarctic waters by Hui Te Rangiora and his crew on the vessel Te Ivi O Atea, likely in the early seventh century," Wehi said.
[...] Oral histories of the voyage include reference to "a foggy, misty and dark place not seen by the sun" and iceberg-like summits "piercing the sky with no vegetation".
The study said that Maori carving and weaving also supported accounts of early Antarctic exploration.
Wehi said collating traditional Maori accounts helped give a broader view of Antarctic history, beyond the accounts of European male explorers that usually predominate.
At last, a study that makes sense!
Priscilla M. Wehi, Nigel J. Scott, Jacinta Beckwith, et al. A short scan of Māori journeys to Antarctica, Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand (DOI: 10.1080/03036758.2021.1917633)
Sperm whales are among the loudest living animals on the planet, producing creaking, knocking and staccato clicking sounds to communicate with other whales that are a few feet to even a few hundred miles away.
This symphony of patterned clicks, known as codas, might be sophisticated enough to qualify as a full-fledged language. But will humans ever understand what these cetaceans are saying?
The answer is maybe, but first researchers have to collect and analyze an unprecedented number of sperm whale communications, researchers told Live Science.
With brains six times larger than ours, sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) have intricate social structures and spend much of their time socializing and exchanging codas. These messages can be as brief as 10 seconds, or last over half an hour.
[...] This paper, by a cross-disciplinary project known as CETI (Cetacean Translation Initiative), outlines a plan to decode sperm whale vocalizations, first by collecting recordings of sperm whales, and then by using machine learning to try to decode the sequences of clicks these fellow mammals use to communicate. CETI chose to study sperm whales over other whales because their clicks have an almost Morse code-like structure, which artificial intelligence (AI) might have an easier time analyzing.
Pratyusha Sharma, a data science researcher for CETI and a doctoral candidate in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT, told Live Science more about recent developments in artificial intelligence and language models, such as GPT-3, which uses deep learning to construct human-like text or stories on command, and last year took the AI community by storm. Scientists hope these same methods could be applied to the vocalizations of sperm whales, she said. The only problem: these methods have a voracious appetite for data.
The CETI project currently has recordings of about 100,000 sperm whale clicks, painstakingly gathered by marine biologists over many years, but the machine-learning algorithms might need somewhere in the vicinity of 4 billion. To bridge this gap, CETI is setting up numerous automated channels for collecting recordings from sperm whales. These include underwater microphones placed in waters frequented by sperm whales, microphones that can be dropped by eagle-eyed airborne drones as soon as they spot a pod of sperm whales congregating at the surface, and even robotic fish that can follow and listen to whales unobtrusively from a distance.
And even with the data, the AI model could be pro-human biased. Maybe it is time we find Dory.
Shane Gero, Hal Whitehead, Luke Rendell. Individual, unit and vocal clan level identity cues in sperm whale codas, Royal Society Open Science (DOI: https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rsos.150372)
UC Riverside engineers have developed a catalyst to remove a dangerous chemical from water on Earth that could also make Martian soil safer for agriculture and help produce oxygen for human Mars explorers.
Perchlorate, a negative ion consisting of one chlorine atom bonded to four oxygen atoms, occurs naturally in some soils on Earth, and is especially abundant in Martian soil. As a powerful oxidizer, perchlorate is also manufactured and used in solid rocket fuel, fireworks, munitions, airbag initiators for vehicles, matches and signal flares. It is a byproduct in some disinfectants and herbicides.
Because of its ubiquity in both soil and industrial goods, perchlorate is a common water contaminant that causes certain thyroid disorders. Perchlorate bioaccumulates in plant tissues and a large amount of perchlorate found in Martian soil could make food grown there unsafe to eat, limiting the potential for human settlements on Mars. Perchlorate in Martian dust could also be hazardous to explorers. Current methods of removing perchlorate from water require either harsh conditions or a multistep enzymatic process to lower the oxidation state of the chlorine element into the harmless chloride ion.
Changxu Ren, Peng Yang, Jiaonan Sun, et al. A Bioinspired Molybdenum Catalyst for Aqueous Perchlorate Reduction, Journal of the American Chemical Society (DOI: 10.1021/jacs.1c00595)
Despite all the sterling work put in by malware writers, scammers and whatnot to teach people not to trust computers, people still need to learn that reading or finding something on a computer doesn't automatically make it true. And this also applies to people whose job is find stuff on computers.
Ian Walden, a professor of information and communications law at Queen Mary, University of London, said there was a tendency to believe the machine. "This study shows that we need to be careful about electronic evidence," Walden said. "Not only should we not always trust the machine, we can't always trust the person that interprets the machine."
[...] The study, [upcoming] , found that the examiners who had been led to believe the suspect might be innocent documented the fewest traces of evidence in the files, while those who knew of a potential motive identified the most traces.
With caching by the browser, hidden and invisible text on web pages, data retrieved by malware and probably many more ways, how can you show the user was even aware of something "suspicious" found on their computer. Even a small disk or SSD is far too big for one person to be able to know all the data on it.
Nina Sunde, Itiel E. Drorb. A hierarchy of expert performance (HEP) applied to digital forensics: Reliability and biasability in digital forensics decision making [open], Forensic Science International: Digital Investigation (DOI: 10.1016/j.fsidi.2021.301175)
William of Ockham is the medieval philosopher who gave us what is perhaps the world's only metaphysical knife. Raised by Franciscan friars and educated at Oxford in the late 13th century, he focused his energies on what can only be described as esoterica, topics spanning theology and politics. In service of this occupation, he clashed with Pope John XXII and was excommunicated by the Catholic Church.
Ockham's exploration of the philosophical concept of nominalism and his preference for parsimony in logical arguments gave rise to the concept of Ockham's Razor (sometimes spelled "Occam"). Stated plainly, the Razor asserts that if two models equally explain a scenario, the simpler of the two is more likely.
[...] In his book "The Demon-Haunted World," the late Carl Sagan introduces a thought experiment of a dragon in his garage. When Sagan convinces someone to come look at the dragon, the visitor opens the garage door and finds nothing there. Sagan then counters that "she's an invisible dragon," and, naturally, cannot be seen.
[...] Ironically the preservation of Ockham's Razor over the centuries may be due to its own internal simplicity. Simply by uttering the phrase "Ockham's Razor," it is possible to challenge everything from an interpretation of a new physics experiment, to the explanation of a social movement, to a possible account for a crime scene. The Razor has broad utility in pushing back against explanations that appear to be overly complicated or continue to amend their original thesis by layering secondary and contingent explanations in response to new challenges.
Yet in science, the Razor is just one concept that researchers might use in considering a theory. How predictive is the theory? Is it falsifiable? How well does it align with other explanations that we believe are correct? How internally consistent is it? These and many more questions all are part of the discourse of science. Ockham's Razor in and of itself is not the sole criterion for finding the truth — and applying the Razor outside of the narrow realm of statistical model selection is not so simple.
[...] Though Okham's Razor may not be well suited to all types of knowledge, at the boundaries of scientific knowledge it offers a rubric to test hypotheses. The Razor continues to demonstrate utility to whittle down chaff at the margins. It would be convenient if the Razor alone was sufficient to settle all scientific debate. But the world, it turns out, is not so parsimonious.
Let's revisit the dragon in the garage. Imagine you are told that this invisible dragon can induce fatal burns without the heat and smoke of fire. You investigate further and conclude that since there is no evidence of a beast, neither the dragon nor its deadly force can exist. Hours later, you succumb to radiation burns from your exposure in the garage.
Tesla announced its refreshed 2021 Model S electric vehicle teasing that it had 10 TFLOPs of compute performance, but now we know it is a custom AMD RDNA 2-based Navi 23 GPU and its GPU block diagram.
The AMD Navi 23 GPU should be used inside of the 2021 Tesla Model S for its entertainment and navigation systems, with GDDR6 memory (Samsung 16Gb chips) with 8GB in total. The Navi 23 GPU has 10 TFLOPs of performance, which is virtually identical to that of the Sony PlayStation 5 console and its semi-custom AMD chip.
Navi 23 has 32 Compute Units (2048 Stream Processors) with GPU clocks of at least 2.44GHz, while the 8GB of GDDR6 finds itself on a 128-bit memory bus -- making the memory bus of Tesla's new 2021 infotainment system similar to Microsoft's slower Xbox Series S console.
AMD Navi 23 RDNA 2 GPU Reportedly Powers TESLA 2021 Infotainment System, 10 TFLOPs Horsepower & Can Run Cyberpunk 2077
Yesterday, TESLA announced its updated Model S which brings a range of new features including a brand new infotainment system that brings 10 TFLOPs of horsepower, the same power as Sony's PS5 and is reportedly powered by AMD's RDNA 2 based Navi 23 GPU.
TESLA claims that their infotainment system allows for up to 10 TFLOPs of processing power which is on par with current-generation consoles such as the Sony PS5. The infotainment system comes with wireless controller compatibility and lets you game from any seat. And while TESLA doesn't mention any specs of this particular system, the hardware scene has a sense of what could be under the hood of the latest TESLA model S.
According to [Patrick Schur], TESLA Model S will be using the Navi 23 GPU which is a derivative of the Navi 2 SKUs & the smallest of the bunch. The Navi 21 GPU is featured on the high-end and flagship designs while the Navi 22 GPU will be focusing on the mainstream segment. The Navi 23 GPU will be aimed at the entry-level segment but it's still a match for existing consoles.
In a block diagram that originates from TESLA Motors themselves, it is shown that the Navi 23 GPU is indeed going to power the infotainment system on the Tesla Model S 2021. It features a 128-bit bus interface with four 2 GB DRAM modules which would allow for 8 GB GDDR6 memory (K4ZAF325XM dies). The memory would operate at 14 Gbps to deliver a total bandwidth of 224 GB/s. The AMD Navi 23 GPU would connect to the main B2B connector through a PCIe Gen 3 x8 link and feature HDMI 1.4.
Update, 9 June 2021: Google reports this week in the journal Nature that its next generation AI chip, succeeding the TPU version 4, was designed in part using an AI that researchers described to IEEE Spectrum last year. They've made some improvements since Spectrum last spoke to them. The AI now needs fewer than six hours to generate chip floorplans that match or beat human-produced designs at power consumption, performance, and area. Expert humans typically need months of iteration to do this task.
Original blog post from 23 March 2020 follows:
There's been a lot of intense and well-funded work developing chips that are specially designed to perform AI algorithms faster and more efficiently. The trouble is that it takes years to design a chip, and the universe of machine learning algorithms moves a lot faster than that. Ideally you want a chip that's optimized to do today's AI, not the AI of two to five years ago. Google's solution: have an AI design the AI chip.
"We believe that it is AI itself that will provide the means to shorten the chip design cycle, creating a symbiotic relationship between hardware and AI, with each fueling advances in the other," they write in a paper describing the work that posted today to Arxiv.
"We have already seen that there are algorithms or neural network architectures that... don't perform as well on existing generations of accelerators, because the accelerators were designed like two years ago, and back then these neural nets didn't exist," says Azalia Mirhoseini, a senior research scientist at Google. "If we reduce the design cycle, we can bridge the gap."
1.) Azalia Mirhoseini, Anna Goldie, Mustafa Yazgan, et al. A graph placement methodology for fast chip design, Nature (DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-03544-w)
2.) Anna Goldie, Azalia Mirhoseini. Placement Optimization with Deep Reinforcement Learning, (DOI: https://arxiv.org/abs/2003.08445)
Related: Google Reveals Homegrown "TPU" For Machine Learning
Google Pulls Back the Covers on Its First Machine Learning Chip
Hundred Petaflop Machine Learning Supercomputers Now Available on Google Cloud
Google Replaced Millions of Intel Xeons with its Own "Argos" Video Transcoding Units
Today's tidbit is that just anybody (including [Ian Charnas]) can exchange money for jet engines, no questions asked. Scary, huh? So once [Ian] secured the cutest little engine, he took a poll regarding possible uses for it. Jetpack rollerskating won, that's obvious enough. So let's get into those details.
In order to run the thing and test the thrust a bit before strapping it on his back, [Ian] went about this the smart way and welded together a sliding stand. And he didn't use just any old Jansport backpack, he welded together a frame and roll cage for the engine and attached it to a full-body harness. There's also a heat shield to keep his backside from catching fire.
Read the linked story and then watch the well-crafted (and funny) video in YouTube where he documents parts procurement (including getting hold of jet fuel), the build process, safety precautions, and actual test runs. Not only did he give it a try, but also obtained help from roller derby aficionados who we able to double his top speed!
The next decade will no longer be dictated by the number of cores, but rather the processor's fabrication node, packaging method, and power efficiency. A big role will also be played by heterogeneous architectures.
Later this year Intel will launch its 12th Gen Core Alder Lake processors for desktop and mobile systems. This is not the first architecture to implement Intel's Hybrid Technology (the first was Lakefield). This is a marketing term for high-efficiency (small) and high-performance (big) core implementation. Most tech users should be more familiar with the term big.LITTLE, which is actually an old name for ARM's heterogeneous computing architecture, now replaced by DynamIQ.
While heterogeneous CPUs have been used in mobile devices for years, this technology isn't exactly a domain of modern desktop PCs, where power efficiency is not exactly the biggest concern. The next-generation Windows operating system is rumored to feature a new task scheduling method for such heterogeneous computing, which might just align with Intel's Alder Lake launch.
While AMD has not really confirmed it is working on such [a] processor design, the leaks have brought us a new codename 'Strix Point', which is associated with [a] Zen5 based APU, supposedly also featuring smaller cores known as Zen4D. The latter is a codename of the smaller core.
Just two days ago, an AMD patent on 'task transition between heterogeneous processors' has been published. This patent was originally filed in December 2019, which suggests AMD has clearly been working on this technology for a long time. The patent covers the most important engineering problem of heterogeneous computing, which is how to schedule or transition tasks between different types of cores.
It looks like both Intel and AMD will adopt heterogeneous x86 microarchitectures in future desktop and mobile processors. Smaller cores can deliver better performance-per-Watt and performance-per-mm2 of die area, allowing for greater potential gains in multi-threaded performance, while big cores deliver better single-thread performance.
Intel's Alder Lake desktop CPUs will have up to 8 big and 8 small cores, and are expected to be announced or launched around October 25. It will support both DDR4 and DDR5 memory depending on the motherboard used. Intel is rumored to follow that up with Raptor Lake CPUs in 2022 featuring 8 big and 16 small cores.
The rumored AMD Strix Point APUs could launch as late as 2024, with a mix of Zen 5 (big) and "Zen 4D" (small) cores on TSMC's "3nm" process.
Also at Tom's Hardware.