Covers the period:
2017-01-01 .. 2017-04-28
(SPIDs: [586..643]) --martyb
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When you've got a crop full of plants growing in a field, inspecting each and every one of them can be very monotonous work. That's why scientists are working on plant-inspecting robots, that perform the task autonomously. Most of those 'bots are wheeled, however, meaning that they could get stuck or fall over – plus they might get in the way of other machinery. With that in mind, scientists from Georgia Tech have created a prototype robot that swings over the plants like a monkey. It's called Tarzan.
The idea is that in fields where a Tarzan robot is being used, each row of plants will have a tightly-strung guy wire running overhead. Using its two "arms," the robot will swing itself along that wire, imaging the plants below with its built-in cameras as it does so. When it gets to the end of one row, it will just swing over to the wire running above the next row over, and start making its way back down it. That process will be repeated, until it covers the whole field.
It does sound like a better option than a wheeled robot--muck in the fields can get pretty deep.
A joint bid by the U.S. company Broadcom Limited and the Japanese government may keep Toshiba's chip business out of the hands of China or South Korea:
A Japanese government-backed fund and policy bank are considering a joint bid with Broadcom Ltd for Toshiba Corp's semiconductor business, a move that would vault the U.S. chipmaker into the lead to buy the prized unit, the Asahi newspaper said on Wednesday.
A bid by Innovation Network Corp of Japan and the Development Bank of Japan with Broadcom would appear to be aimed at preventing Toshiba's chip technology from going to rivals in China or South Korea, the Asahi said, citing an unidentified source.
INCJ Chairman Toshiyuki Shiga said on Tuesday the fund was looking at the chip auction although it had not participated in the first round of bidding. People familiar with the matter have told Reuters INCJ might invest in the business as a minority partner - a move that would help the government prevent a sale to bidders it deems risky to national security.
Previously: Toshiba and SanDisk Announce 48-Layer 256 Gb 3D NAND
Toshiba in Trouble
Toshiba Teasing QLC 3D NAND and TSV for More Layers
Toshiba Envisions a 100 TB QLC SSD in the "Near Future"
Toshiba Considers NAND Business Split; Samsung Delays Release of 4 TB SSDs (WD is a bidder)
SK Hynix to Bid for Toshiba's Memory Business
Toshiba Nuked Half its Assets
Huge Nuclear Cost Overruns Push Toshiba's Westinghouse Into Bankruptcy
Toshiba Warns That its Survival is at Risk
We've all heard it: eating salty foods makes you thirstier. But what sounds like good nutritional advice turns out to be an old-wives' tale. In a study carried out during a simulated mission to Mars, an international group of scientists has found exactly the opposite to be true. "Cosmonauts" who ate more salt retained more water, weren't as thirsty, and needed more energy.
For some reason, no one had ever carried out a long-term study to determine the relationship between the amount of salt in a person's diet and his drinking habits. Scientists have known that increasing a person's salt intake stimulates the production of more urine -- it has simply been assumed that the extra fluid comes from drinking. Not so fast! say researchers from the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC), Vanderbilt University and colleagues around the world.
[...] Before the study, the prevailing hypothesis had been that the charged sodium and chloride ions in salt grabbed onto water molecules and dragged them into the urine. The new results showed something different: salt stayed in the urine, while water moved back into the kidney and body. This was completely puzzling to Prof. Jens Titze, MD of the University of Erlangen and Vanderbilt University Medical Center and his colleagues. "What alternative driving force could make water move back?" Titze asked.
Experiments in mice hinted that urea might be involved. This substance is formed in muscles and the liver as a way of shedding nitrogen. In mice, urea was accumulating in the kidney, where it counteracts the water-drawing force of sodium and chloride. But synthesizing urea takes a lot of energy, which explains why mice on a high-salt diet were eating more. Higher salt didn't increase their thirst, but it did make them hungrier. Also the human "cosmonauts" receiving a salty diet complained about being hungry.
So, to reduce your portions and lose weight, eat less salt?
Meanwhile, a report from Scottish Renewables suggests that onshore wind farms could compete subsidy-free in the UK, as long as they were allowed to take part in the country's competitive auction process. (Known as contracts for difference, or CfD, the competitive auction process does not currently include onshore wind.)
Finally, while the loss of incentives and tax credits might have less impact than it once did—thanks to ongoing cost reduction and technological improvement—we are right to be concerned that political obstructionists can still do a lot of damage to the future of renewables. (The exclusion of wind from the aforementioned CfD process in the UK is one example.) But here too, there are signs of progress—because oil giant Shell is lobbying for the Dutch government to quadruple its offshore wind target for 2030 to an installed capacity of a whopping 20 gigawatts (GW). As Shell joins the likes of Statoil—which recently quit tar sands in favor of offshore wind—the shift of political and lobbying power starts to shift.
More signs that the pivot point in the energy economy is upon us.
The LTO Program Technology Provider Companies (TPCs)—Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM and Quantum—today released their annual tape media shipment report, detailing quarterly and year-over-year shipments.
The report shows a record 96,000 petabytes (PB) of total compressed tape capacity shipped in 2016, an increase of 26.1 percent over the previous year. Greater LTO-7 tape technology density as well as the continuous growth in LTO-6 tape technology shipments were key contributors to this increase.
[...] While the total compressed tape capacity grew dramatically in 2016, the total volume of tape cartridges shipped in 2016 remained flat over the previous year whereas hard disk drives (HDD) saw a decrease in unit sales of approximately 9.5 percent year-over-year2. This stability in tape cartridge shipments indicates that customers continue to rely on low-cost, high-density tape as part of their current data protection and retention strategies and evolving tape technologies are becoming attractive to new areas of the market.
"Compressed tape capacity" is a nonsense number that multiplies the "raw" capacity by a compression ratio. Assuming that only LTO-6 and LTO-7 tapes were sold (which have a 2.5:1 compression ratio rather than the 2:1 of earlier generations), then 38,400 PB or 38.4 exabytes were shipped.
LTO-6 tapes store 2.5 TB and LTO-7 tapes store 6 TB. Planned LTO-8 tapes will store 12.8 TB, LTO-9 will store 26 TB, and LTO-10 will store 48 TB. The max uncompressed speed of these generations will be 160, 300, 427, 708, and 1100 MB/s respectively.
Ridley Scott's RSA Films production company is launching a new imprint "dedicated exclusively to the creative development and production of VR (virtual reality), AR (augmented reality) and mixed media." It's called RSA VR.
RSA VR's first project is a VR Experience for "Alien: Covenant," in partnership with Twentieth Century Fox and Technicolour.
"We have been heavily involved in VR for the past few years, and having a dedicated stand-alone division underscores our commitment to immersive media in both the brand and entertainment space," RSA Films' president Jules Daly said.
Trump is planning on signing an executive order on Tuesday that will cause a review of the H1-B program. It is just a review, and undoubtedly business interests will step up the pressure, but there are some interesting ideas:
"If you change that current system that awards visas randomly, without regard or skill or wage, to a skill-based awarding, it makes it extremely difficult to use the visa to replace or undercut American workers, because you're not bringing in workers at beneath the market wage," the official said. "So it's a very elegant way of solving systemic problems in the H-1B guest worker visa."
Breitbart of course has an article out (though it reads like they need to hire some native speaking editors) -- still, recent college grads face a huge hurdle:
The federal government releases little data on the many different guest-worker programs, but the available evidence says the national population of white-collar contract workers is up to 1.5 million. That population is roughly twice the population of 800,000 Americans who graduate from college with skilled degrees each year.
And finally, lest people forget that progressives also have issues with H1-B visas, here is Bernie Sanders (a decade ago of course) attacking this ploy to make sure money only trickles up by ensuring low wages. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nR9QdQIKqMc
[Ed Note: Trump did sign the executive order at a photo op in Wisconsin.]
First things first: The Missing Link!
Dmitry Bogatov (maintainer for several Debian packages and a TOR exit node) was arrested in Moscow, accused of endorsing violence and mayhem. The Debian project reacted by - besides giving their moral support - revoking access rights based on his private key as a precaution, in case the key gets compromised.
For more than two thousand years people have believed that joint pain could be triggered by bad weather, but the link has never been proven.
But now, by harnessing the power of thousands of volunteers, doctors hope to unravel the mystery. And the new technique could offer countless solutions to a whole host of ailments.
[...] Each day she enters information about how she feels into an app on her phone, the phone's GPS pinpoints her location, pulls the latest weather information from the internet, and fires a package of data to a team of researchers.
On its own Becky's data is of limited interest, but she isn't acting alone. More than 13,000 volunteers have signed up for the same study, sending vast quantities of information into a database - more than four million data points so far.
The app, called "Cloudy with a Chance of Pain" is part of a research project being run by Will Dixon. He is a consultant rheumatologist at Salford Royal Hospital and has spent years researching joint pain.
My rheumatism is triggered when the wife asks me to carry heavy, heavy things up to our 3rd-floor walk-up...
The Associated Press via CBC reports on preliminary results of a referendum held in Turkey on whether the powers of the president should be increased:
With 99 per cent of the ballots counted, the "yes" vote stood at 51.37 per cent, while the "no" vote was 48.63 per cent, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency. The head of Turkey's electoral board confirmed the "yes" victory and said final results will be declared in 11-12 days.
BBC News quotes the leader of an opposing party:
The main opposition, the Republican People's Party (CHP), has called for a recount.
Deputy leader Bulent Tezcan denounced "violations" in the electoral process. "We will pursue a legal battle. If the irregularities are not fixed, there will be a serious legitimacy discussion," he said.
Common Dreams reports Erdoğan Claims Ultimate Power in Turkey After Nearly Split Vote.
As one opponent of the referendum noted: "Threats, oppression, imprisonment, censorship, defamation--and yet half of the people of Turkey voted" against.
In a very close--and closely watched--referendum vote, Turks on [April 16] handed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan what many say is authoritarian rule.
With more than 99 percent of ballots counted, Erdoğan claimed a win with 51.36 percent voting in favor of the referendum and 48.64 voting against.
However, the Guardian reported,
disparities persisted into Sunday evening, with the opposition saying not all ballots had been counted and they would contest a third of the votes that had been cast. [Sadi Guven, the head of Turkey's high electoral board, or YSK] said the YSK had decided to consider unstamped ballots as valid unless they were proved to be fraudulent after a high number of complaints--including one from the ruling AK Party--that its officials had failed to stamp some ballot papers.
The No campaign said the YSK's last-minute decision raised questions about the validity of the vote.
TheFederalistPapers.org reports Turkey Votes To Turn Itself Into An Islamic Dictatorship.
Turkey's new dictator, President Recip Tayyip Erdoğan claimed victory in Sunday's vote on whether he should essentially take almost complete control over the country.
The opposition has said they would contest the election, citing rampant voter fraud, but the election is no less stunning.
Turkey is a member of NATO and a crucial ally (sometimes) in the fight against terrorism.
[...] If the results are upheld, it gives Turkey's government--with Erdoğan at the helm--widespread authority to scrap the centuries-old parliamentary system, replacing it with a presidential model. It would concentrate massive power in the hands of the president who has recently jailed opponents and cracked down on dissent.
Erdoğan will be able to appoint senior judges, declare a state of emergency, dissolve parliament, and in some cases issue new laws be [decreed].
It will also theoretically allow Erdoğan, who has dominated Turkish politics as president and prime minister since 2003, to stay in office until 2029.
Alibaba is venturing out of e-commerce and further into esports.
Esports will appear at next year's Games in Indonesia as a "demonstration," Alibaba said, but will be an official medal sport in China's 2022 Games. The Asian Games are recognised by the International Olympic Committee, meaning in 2022 esports will be an official Olympic sport.
Esports is a growing market that is expected to garner 191 million global enthusiasts by the year's end, according to research firm Newzoo. As of last April, the industry was worth over $450 million -- a number expected to grow to $1 billion by 2019.
That growth is manifesting in many ways. Not only is esports now technically an Olympic sport, the NBA will soon be creating its own esports league, and there are gaming schools to groom the next generation of pros.
Can't decide--is this exciting, or sad?
Fedora is drafting a new mission statement. The new initial proposal:
Fedora creates an innovative platform that lights up hardware, clouds, and containers for software developers and community members to build tailored solutions for their users.
The original goal was:
to work with the Linux community to build a complete, general purpose operating system exclusively from open source software.
Is saying open, or free, openly (excuse the pun) becoming something to be ashamed of? Are project ditching their ideals? Fedora barely mentioned free (or Free, to be more clear), but now it's even more vague. It's like if had to be reminded over and over to those in charge, as the triggered thread demostrates.
Scientists have found live specimens of the rare giant shipworm for the first time, in the Philippines. Details of the creature, which can reach up to 1.55m (5ft) in length and 6cm (2.3in) in diameter, were published in a US science journal.
The giant shipworm spends its life encased in a hard shell, submerged head-down in mud, which it feeds on. Though its existence has been known for years, no living specimen had been studied until now. Despite its name it is actually a bivalve, which is the same group as clams and mussels.
Discovery of chemoautotrophic symbiosis in the giant shipworm Kuphus polythalamia (Bivalvia: Teredinidae) extends wooden-steps theory (open, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1620470114) (DX)
Einride, a company based in Gothenburg (Göteborg), Sweden, has a vision that lowers these hurdles slowing the adoption of both alternative energy and self-driving technologies in hauling. The key change? Take the driver out of the vehicle with a hybrid of self-driving and remote control.
Einride plans to have their driverless (windowless, even) T-pods plying the route between Gothenburg and Helsingborg by 2020. The 7-meter (23- feet) long vehicle can carry 15 standard pallets and up to 20 tons. The trucks roll through their highway distances in fully automated mode. But when they near population centers, the T-pods can be put under remote control, with a human managing the navigation.
With no paid personnel on board to be bored and useless during long charging cycles, electric motors begin to make more sense. The T-pods can travel 200 km (124 miles) on a single charge, and stops at charging stations add little to the overall costs of haulage compared to traditional rigs that have down-time during driver resting periods. Remote drivers can simply switch their attention to a different vehicle when one T-pod stops for recharging. Which is a good thing, because even the run up and down the Swedish coastline between Gothenburg and Helsingborg may be a bit out of range without a top-up along the way.
Maybe all those hours playing Starcraft did not go to waste after all--perfect training to be an Einride operator.
Various web sites report that 14 new episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K for short) have been made available on the Netflix streaming service. Older episodes can also be seen on Netflix. Each is 90 minutes long, and has intermissions. During the show, fictional characters—including puppets—give humourous running commentary while a B movie is shown.
According to the show's official site, the new season is permitted to be seen in "the U.S., U.K., New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, and Canada."
Mystery Science Theater 3000 Revival Ending Campaign With Star-Studded Telethon
Mystery Science Theater 3000 Successfully Crowdsources its Comeback
Joel Hodgson Wants to Bring Back MST3K
Metallic implants—widely used clinically to replace diseased or damaged bone tissue—are not biodegradable and stay in the human body until removed surgically. The implants may also have problems with corrosion and could cause a negative reaction with the immune system. As a result, new polymer-based biodegradable implants are being developed to provide a needed alternative to metal.
Inspired by the structure of natural bone that provides a porous load-bearing scaffold to house soft biological cells, Assistant Professor Pranav Soman and his research team are using 3-D printing to create polymer scaffolding that can be filled with bone-forming human cells.
The polymer scaffold provides the initial support structure, while the cells eventually fill in and develop into bone, replacing the polymer that slowly degrades, providing a more natural replacement for the bone.
[...]The polymer component used in this work is called PCL, a Food and Drug Administration-approved biomaterial. This polymer is processed at a high temperature and then filled with gelatin laden with bone-forming cells that can deposit bone mineral or hydroxyapatite within the gelatin matrix. Once filled and exposed to ultraviolet light, the hybrid structure can both support the load and sustain the growth of the cells.
No more casts, no more pins.