Covers the period:
2017-01-01 00:00:00 ..
2017-06-23 18:50:26 UTC
2017-06-27 14:52:26 UTC
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A move by China to save the planet has delivered a price shock to the global shipping industry just as it was starting to emerge from its worst slump in almost a decade.
China manufacturers make 90 percent of all containers used on ships to carry all manner of finished products and commodities around the world. They're the workhorses of the global economy. As part of their pledge to cut emissions by 70 percent by the end of this year, these companies are coating containers with water-borne paints that release less toxic fumes than oil-based varieties before China starts levying a green tax in January 2018.
It's a noble effort—yet one that's delivered an unintended blow to the shipping industry. About 70 percent of container production capacity in China has been shut down as manufacturers retool their factories to allow for the usage of the new paints, sending prices soaring as much as 69 percent from last year's lows, said Teo Siong Seng, chief executive officer at Singamas Container Holdings Ltd., the world's No. 2 maker.
It's not just the container manufacturers shutting down to retool, but that the new water-based paint takes 20 hours to dry vs. 4 hours for conventional paints.
Don't be scared. It's just one little genome:
Advances in technology have made it much easier, faster and less expensive to do whole genome sequencing — to spell out all three billion letters in a person's genetic code. Falling costs have given rise to speculation that it could soon become a routine part of medical care, perhaps as routine as checking your blood pressure.
But will such tests, which can be done for as little as $1,000, prove useful, or needlessly scary?
The first closely-controlled study [DOI: 10.7326/M17-0188] [DX] aimed at answering that question suggests that doctors and their patients can handle the flood of information the tests would produce. The study was published Monday in Annals of Internal Medicine.
"We can actually do genome sequencing in normal, healthy individuals without adverse consequences — and actually with identification of some important findings," says Teri Manolio, director of the division of genomic medicine at the National Human Genome Institute, which funded the study. Manolio wrote an editorial [DOI: 10.7326/M17-1518] [DX] accompanying the paper.
SSDs with 64 layers of 3D NAND are now available:
Today Intel is introducing their SSD 545s, the first product with their new 64-layer 3D NAND flash memory and, in a move that gives Intel a little bit of bragging rights, the first SSD on the market to use 64-layer 3D NAND from any manufacturer.
The Intel SSD 545s is a mainstream consumer SSD, which these days means it's using the SATA interface and TLC NAND flash. The 545s is the successor to last year's Intel SSD 540s, which was in many ways a filler product to cover up inconvenient gaps in Intel's SSD technology roadmap. When the 540s launched, Intel's first generation of 3D NAND was not quite ready, and Intel had no cost-competitive planar NAND of their own due to skipping the 16nm node at IMFT. This forced Intel to use 16nm TLC from SK Hynix in the 540s. Less unusual for Intel, the 540s also used a third-party SSD controller: Silicon Motion's SM2258. Silicon Motion's SSD controllers are seldom the fastest, but performance is usually decent and the cost is low. Intel's in-house SATA SSD controllers were enterprise-focused and not ready to compete in the new TLC-based consumer market.
[...] Intel will be using their smaller 256Gb 64L TLC die for all capacities of the 545s, rather than adopting the 512Gb 64L TLC part for the larger models. The 512Gb die is not yet in volume production and Intel plans to have the full range of 545s models on the market before the 512Gb parts are available in volume. Once the 512Gb parts are available we can expect to seem them used in other product families to enable even higher drive capacities, but it is reassuring to see Intel choosing the performance advantages of smaller more numerous dies for the mainstream consumer product range. Meanwhile, over the rest of this year, Intel plans to incorporate 64L 3D NAND into SSDs in every product segment. Most of those products are still under wraps, but the Pro 5450s and E 5100s are on the way as the OEM and embedded versions of the 545s.
A new strategy for sending acoustic waves through water could potentially open up the world of high-speed communications activities underwater, including scuba diving, remote ocean monitoring, and deep-sea exploration.
By taking advantage of the dynamic rotation generated as acoustic waves travel, the orbital angular momenta, researchers at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) were able to pack more channels onto a single frequency, effectively increasing the amount of information capable of being transmitted.
They demonstrated this by encoding in binary form the letters that make up the word "Berkeley," and transmitting the information along an acoustic signal that would normally carry less data. They describe their findings in a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
[...] While human activity below the surface of the sea increases, the ability to communicate underwater has not kept pace, limited in large part by physics. Microwaves are quickly absorbed in water, so transmissions cannot get far. Optical communication is no better since light gets scattered by underwater microparticles when traveling over long distances.
Low frequency acoustics is the option that remains for long-range underwater communication. Applications for sonar abound, including navigation, seafloor mapping, fishing, offshore oil surveying, and vessel detection.
However, the tradeoff with acoustic communication, particularly with distances of 200 meters or more, is that the available bandwidth is limited to a frequency range within 20 kilohertz. Frequency that low limits the rate of data transmission to tens of kilobits per second, a speed that harkens back to the days of dialup internet connections and 56-kilobit-per-second modems, the researchers said.
Transmitting data acoustically could tip off the dolphins and whales to our plans...
Following the discontinuation of the NES Classic Edition, Nintendo has announced a September release of another miniature, retro game console with pre-loaded games. It will come in two versions: one for Europe, Australia, Japan and the UK; the other for America. They will differ in styling and in the included games. US Gamer lists the games that will be built into both versions. Star Fox 2, written circa 1995, is to be released for the first time as one of the built-in games.
The consoles will be powered by USB and will not include a mains adaptor; output will be over HDMI and
all games included in the Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System are the original US 60 Hz releases.
Two controllers will be hard-wired.
IBM has a customer for its neuromorphic chips, and it is using terms like "neurons per rack" to describe the system's capabilities:
IBM and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) today announced they are collaborating on a first-of-a-kind brain-inspired supercomputing system powered by a 64-chip array of the IBM TrueNorth Neurosynaptic System. The scalable platform IBM is building for AFRL will feature an end-to-end software ecosystem designed to enable deep neural-network learning and information discovery. The system's advanced pattern recognition and sensory processing power will be the equivalent of 64 million neurons and 16 billion synapses, while the processor component will consume the energy equivalent of a dim light bulb – a mere 10 watts to power.
[...] The IBM TrueNorth Neurosynaptic System can efficiently convert data (such as images, video, audio and text) from multiple, distributed sensors into symbols in real time. AFRL will combine this "right-brain" perception capability of the system with the "left-brain" symbol processing capabilities of conventional computer systems. The large scale of the system will enable both "data parallelism" where multiple data sources can be run in parallel against the same neural network and "model parallelism" where independent neural networks form an ensemble that can be run in parallel on the same data.
"AFRL was the earliest adopter of TrueNorth for converting data into decisions," said Daniel S. Goddard, director, information directorate, U.S. Air Force Research Lab. "The new neurosynaptic system will be used to enable new computing capabilities important to AFRL's mission to explore, prototype and demonstrate high-impact, game-changing technologies that enable the Air Force and the nation to maintain its superior technical advantage."
According to The Wall Street Journal:
The European Union's antitrust regulator on Tuesday fined Alphabet Inc.'s Google a record €2.42 billion ($2.71 billion) for favoring its own comparison-shopping service in search results and ordered the search giant to apply the same methods to rivals as its own when displaying their services.
[...] If the ruling sets a precedent that holds, these firms might all have to rethink how they make products that—like Google's search engine—have become more than just tools, but dominant gateways to the wider internet.
From The New York Times:
While the fine will garner attention, the focus will most likely shift quickly to the changes that Google will have to make to comply with the antitrust decision, potentially leaving it vulnerable to regular monitoring of its closely guarded search algorithm.
CNBC adds that, based on a filing, Google expects to ultimately pay this fine.
NASA says the preliminary design review of its Quiet Supersonic Transport (QueSST) project suggests it is possible to create a supersonic aircraft that doesn't produce a sonic boom.
NASA says "Senior experts and engineers from across the agency and the Lockheed Martin Corporation concluded on Friday that the QueSST design is capable of fulfilling the LBFD aircraft's mission objectives, which are to fly at supersonic speeds, but create a soft 'thump' instead of the disruptive sonic boom associated with supersonic flight today."
NASA's commercial supersonic technology project manager Peter Coen explains, in this video, that "the idea is to design the airplane so that the shock waves that are produced in supersonic flight are arranged in such a way that you don't have a boom. You have just a general kind of a gradual pressure rise that produces a quiet sound."
NASA's next step is finding organisations willing to build a working model of the Low Boom Flight Demonstration (LBFD) experimental airplane and fly it over American cities and towns to hear how much noise it makes. It's hoped those flights could start in 2021.
Nah, rather travel in the kind of zeppelin Sergei Brin is building.
An ESA-funded scientist is developing a magnetic space tug to combat the growing problem of space debris. The tugs could lock onto derelict satellites and deorbit them before they become a hazard to navigation, and because they use cryogenic magnets, they wouldn't have to even touch the derelicts and the targets wouldn't need to be specially modified for towing.
Depending on how it's defined, there are over 500,000 pieces of debris or "space junk" orbiting the Earth, ranging in size from old launch vehicles and dead satellites down to flecks of paint. Because they travel at tens of thousands of miles per hour, even the smallest object can strike with the force of a meteor, and if a large one should hit a satellite, the impact could turn them both into deadly clouds of shrapnel.
Funded by ESA's Networking/Partnering Initiative, Emilien Fabacher of the Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace at the University of Toulouse has come up with a system using magnetic fields generated by superconducting wires cooled to cryogenic temperatures. For his PhD research, he has been using a rendezvous simulator with magnetic interaction models to study how to guide, navigate, and control such tugs.
"With a satellite you want to deorbit, it's much better if you can stay at a safe distance, without needing to come into direct contact and risking damage to both chaser and target satellites," says Fabacher. "So the idea I'm investigating is to apply magnetic forces either to attract or repel the target satellite, to shift its orbit or deorbit it entirely."
Scotland: the land of mist and mountains long associated with kilts, bagpipes, haggis ... and now space launches. Timed to coincide with the Queen's Speech to Parliament, British startup Orbex announced that it will build a new 2,000 m² (21,500 ft²) rocket production facility in Scotland and is scouting for a launch site on the north coast of the country to send small payloads into low Earth orbit.
The announcement comes on the tails of Orbex making a private presentation of its launch technology to potential investors at the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport. It already has a 1,200 m² (12,900 ft²) factory in England, where it is building launch vehicle subsystems, and is now seeking to expand north of the border for the assembly and launching of the completed rocket.
The goal is to create a booster that can lift payloads of up to 150 kg (330 lb) into low Earth orbit (LEO) and, eventually, to send up payloads of up to 220 kg (485 lb) into LEO, polar, or sun-synchronous orbits at altitudes of up to 1,250 km (775 mi). To help achieve this, Orbex is working with regional and national agencies to draft detailed development proposals in line with the UK government's 2017 Spaceflight Bill intended to promote launch sites in the British Isles.
The inaugural rocket will carry the tartan of which clan?
Most microphones are designed to emulate the human ear, hearing sounds that we hear, and not hearing ones that we don't. Scientists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, however, have created a new sound that we can't hear but that is picked up by mics of all kinds. It could have some valuable applications, although there's also the potential for misuse.
The university's Coordinated Science Laboratory states that the sound is produced by combining multiple tones that interact with a microphone's mechanical workings, creating what is known as a "shadow" – this is a type of white noise that is detectable only by the microphone, as it's formed within the mic itself.
Transmitted by ultrasonic speakers within a room, the sound could be used to keep confidential conversations from being clearly picked up by hidden listening devices. The people talking would still have no problem hearing each other, as the sound would be inaudible to them.
It could also thwart illegal audio recordings in movie theaters or music venues, plus it could be used in place of Bluetooth for wireless communication between Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
There is now scaffolding to ensure booting to a newly-linked kernel for every reboot. New random kernels can be linked together, automatically in the background by the rc
scripts, and installed as /bsd. On a fast machine it takes less than a second. A mail is sent to the system administrator. A reboot runs the new kernel, and yet another kernel is built for the next boot.
From Theo de Raadt's email to the list:
Over the last three weeks I've been working on a new randomization feature which will protect the kernel.
The situation today is that many people install a kernel binary from OpenBSD, and then run that same kernel binary for 6 months or more. We have substantial randomization for the memory allocations made by the kernel, and for userland also of course.
However that kernel is always in the same physical memory, at the same virtual address space (we call it KVA).
Improving this situation takes a few steps.
Recently I moved all our kernels to a new mapping model, with patrick and visa taking care of two platforms.
Previously, the kernel assembly language bootstrap/runtime locore.S was compiled and linked with all the other .c files of the kernel in a deterministic fashion. locore.o was always first, then the .c files order specified by our config(8) utility and some helper files.
In the new world order, locore is split into two files: One chunk is bootstrap, that is left at the beginning. The assembly language runtime and all other files are linked in random fashion. There are some other pieces to try to improve the randomness of the layout.
As a result, every new kernel is unique. The relative offsets between functions and data are unique.
[...] Our immune systems work better when they are unique. Otherwise one airline passenger from Singapore with a new flu could wipe out Europe (they should fly to Washington instead).
Our computers should be more immune.
[Editors note: This is a couple weeks old now, but was by far the best tech story I could find in the submission queue]
Another day, another very fake news story from the network President Donald Trump has identified as "very fake news."
CNN's Thomas Frank on Thursday evening published what would have been considered an explosive report if remotely true: One anonymous source told him both the Treasury Department and Senate Intelligence Committee are probing a Russian investment fund with ties to several senior finance world leaders close to President Trump. Only problem? Both Trump administration officials and those close to Senate GOP leadership say it's simply untrue.
The retraction from CNN:
On June 22, 2017, CNN.com published a story connecting Anthony Scaramucci with investigations into the Russian Direct Investment Fund.
That story did not meet CNN's editorial standards and has been retracted. Links to the story have been disabled. CNN apologizes to Mr. Scaramucci.
According to BuzzFeed News, CNN has responded by actually requiring executives to review stories:
CNN is imposing strict new publishing restrictions for online articles involving Russia after the network deleted a story and then issued a retraction late Friday, according to an internal email obtained by BuzzFeed News.
The email went out at 11:21 a.m. on Saturday from Rich Barbieri, the CNNMoney executive editor, saying "No one should publish any content involving Russia without coming to me and Jason," a CNN vice president.
At least now we'll know who to blame.
[Ed Note: I debated leaving this in politics or dropping it to the main page. I opted for the latter because politics or not, the prevalence of "fake news" is one that we deal with on a daily basis from our respective social media feeds to all the major broadcast and cable news networks. How are we to tell what is "fake" and what is actually (relatively) "true"? The main stream media all put their spin on everything. A right slant for some, a left slant for others. Is the truth somewhere in between, or is it a story that we aren't getting becasue the mainstream media is so intent on telling their narrative that we the people are getting the shit end of the stick regardless of where we get the so called news?]
The US Supreme Court has partially lifted an injunction against President Donald Trump's travel ban.
The Supreme Court said in Monday's ruling: "In practical terms, this means that [the executive order] may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.
"All other foreign nationals are subject to the provisions of [the executive order]."
Mark this down as a win for Donald Trump. The path to entry into the US for immigrants and refugees from the affected nations, if they don't have existing ties to the US - either through family, schools or employment - just became considerably harder.
The decision marks a reaffirmation of the sweeping powers the president has traditionally been granted by the courts in areas of national security. There was fear in some quarters that the administration's ham-fisted implementation of its immigration policy could do lasting damage to the president's prerogatives. That appears not to be the case.
Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard
A new study reveals organizations are wasting an average of $6 million on the time to detect and contain insecure endpoints, among other staggering findings that show endpoint threats are a growing concern, companies are not efficiently protecting their proprietary data, and the cost and complexity of reducing endpoint risks are at an all-time high.
The study also revealed organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to identify dark endpoints — the rogue, out-of-compliance, or off-network devices that create blind spots and increase an organization's vulnerability to attack.
While confidence in endpoint security ranked low, the IT security professionals surveyed believe that close to 60 percent of the hours currently invested in the capture and evaluation of intelligence surrounding the true threats, to both compliance and proprietary data, can be saved each week by deploying automated solutions.
[...] "Managing endpoint security and protecting proprietary data is more than an IT issue, it's increasingly a global business performance and national security concern," said Geoff Haydon, CEO, Absolute. "This study along with recent ransomware attacks and high-profile data breaches show the danger of today's endpoint blind spots, and underscore that automation and newer approaches to endpoint security are key to safeguarding endpoints and the sensitive data on them for optimal business performance."
It can also cost you bruising about the head and face when you try to blame your admins.