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Who will be the first to put a human on the Moon in this century?

  • NASA
  • Russia
  • China
  • India
  • Japan
  • SpaceX
  • Blue Origin
  • Other (specify in comments)

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:48 | Votes:115

posted by martyb on Tuesday October 09 2018, @11:21PM   Printer-friendly
from the that's-quite-a-lead-time dept.

GE Says It Wins $700 Million Order for First Egypt Nuclear Plant

General Electric Co. secured a $700 million contract to supply turbine and generator units for Egypt's first nuclear power project, the company said.

GE will supply four turbine units for the country's planned 4,800 megawatt El Dabaa nuclear facility, it said Tuesday in a statement. The company will deliver one turbine each year from 2023 until 2026, and the units will begin operating at the rate of one per year from 2026 until 2029, Michael Keroulle, chief commercial officer for GE's Steam Power business, said in a phone interview.

The contract was awarded by AAEM, a joint venture between GE and Russia-based Atomenergomash that will design and supply the turbine system for the reactor, GE said in an emailed response to questions.

Sounds like it awarded itself the contract.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday October 09 2018, @09:44PM   Printer-friendly
from the for-directions...ask-Bugs-Bunny dept.

Netflix buys up New Mexico studio facility for massive new production hub

When Netflix moved into its new Los Angeles headquarters last year, the company made sure it had several sound stages at the ready for any production needs. Now the streaming service is taking things a step further, acquiring ABQ Studios in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as part of a plan to bring as much as $1 billion in production to the state over the next 10 years.

Los Angeles is often thought of as a center for film and television production, but studios and production companies have been regularly traveling to other locations to shoot for years. States like New Mexico (Breaking Bad, Netflix's Godless) and Georgia (The Walking Dead, Avengers: Infinity War) can provide a more attractive environment because they're not only less crowded than Los Angeles, but the states themselves also offer tax breaks and financial incentives that actually make it more cost-effective to shoot there. ABQ Studios, which boasts nine stages offering over 170,000 square feet, has been the site of numerous high-profile movies and shows, including Logan, Preacher, Better Call Saul, and the original The Avengers.

Perfect for dry, desolate content.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday October 09 2018, @08:07PM   Printer-friendly
from the Luctor-et-blubblubblub dept.

In a Dutch appeals court verdict, the government of the Netherlands has been ordered to uphold a lower court's ruling that the Netherlands is responsible for reducing its own greenhouse emissions more, so that the effort better reflects the seriousness of the consequences of global warming for the Low Countries' own citizens.

This is a worldwide first, that a government is ordered to take measures against AGW.

From the Guardian: Dutch appeals court upholds landmark climate change ruling

Other sources: de Volkskrant (unfortunately paywalled :-( )

NRC Handelsblad 2018-10-09 "Urgenda-uitspraak maakt burgers partij in klimaatbeleid" (in Dutch)

FAZ 2018-10-09 "Niederlande werden zu Klimaschutz gezwungen" (in German)

Le Monde: nothing yet

"Urgenda", the activists that started the court case: Urgenda Foundation (in English) N.B. website very slow at the moment.

CNN: nothing yet

Fox News: Fox Business 2018-10-09 "Dutch appeals court upholds landmark climate case ruling"

(I can already imagine the advert: "For sale: coal power plant "MPP3". slightly used. Location: Maasvlakte, probably a bit above sea level (ish). Conveniently next door to de Noordzee. Transport costs not included.")

(to eds: I couldn't decide if this topic fell under "survival", "politics", "law", "tech" or "energy", so I plonked it in "Techonomics". Please advise. FAZ put it under "economics" and NRC under "news")

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday October 09 2018, @06:26PM   Printer-friendly
from the hot-stuff dept.

It's the final call, say scientists, the most extensive warning yet on the risks of rising global temperatures.

Their dramatic report on keeping that rise under 1.5 degrees C says the world is now completely off track, heading instead towards 3C.

Keeping to the preferred target of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels will mean "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society".

[...] After three years of research and a week of haggling between scientists and government officials at a meeting in South Korea, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a special report on the impact of global warming of 1.5C.

The critical 33-page Summary for Policymakers certainly bears the hallmarks of difficult negotiations between climate researchers determined to stick to what their studies have shown and political representatives more concerned with economies and living standards.

Despite the inevitable compromises, there are some key messages that come through loud and clear.

"The first is that limiting warming to 1.5C brings a lot of benefits compared with limiting it to two degrees. It really reduces the impacts of climate change in very important ways," said Prof Jim Skea, who co-chairs the IPCC.

"The second is the unprecedented nature of the changes that are required if we are to limit warming to 1.5C - changes to energy systems, changes to the way we manage land, changes to the way we move around with transportation."

"Scientists might want to write in capital letters, 'ACT NOW, IDIOTS,' but they need to say that with facts and numbers," said Kaisa Kosonen, of Greenpeace, who was an observer at the negotiations. "And they have."

The researchers have used these facts and numbers to paint a picture of the world with a dangerous fever, caused by humans. We used to think if we could keep warming below two degrees this century, then the changes we would experience would be manageable.

Not any more. This new study says that going past 1.5C is dicing with the planet's liveability. And the 1.5C temperature "guard rail" could be exceeded in just 12 years, in 2030.

We can stay below it - but it will require urgent, large-scale changes from governments and individuals and we will have to invest a massive pile of cash every year, about 2.5% of global gross domestic product (GDP), the value of all goods and services produced, for two decades.

-- submitted from IRC

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday October 09 2018, @04:49PM   Printer-friendly
from the usa-usa-usa dept.

In March, the United States Special Operations Command, the section of the Defense Department supervising the US Special Forces, held a conference on the theme of "Sovereignty in the Information Age." The conference brought together Special Forces officers with domestic police forces, including officials from the New York Police Department, and representatives from technology companies such as Microsoft.

This meeting of top military, police and corporate representatives went unreported and unpublicized at the time. However, the Atlantic Council recently published a 21-page document summarizing the orientation of the proceedings. It is authored by John T. Watts, a former Australian Army officer and consultant to the US Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security.

[...] The private sector, therefore, must do the dirty work of the government, because government propaganda is viewed with suspicion by the population. "Business and the private sector may not naturally understand the role they play in combating disinformation, but theirs is one of the most important.... In the West at least, they have been thrust into a central role due to the general public's increased trust in them as institutions."

But this is only the beginning. Online newspapers should "consider disabling commentary systems—the function of allowing the general public to leave comments beneath a particular media item," while social media companies should "use a grading system akin to that used to rate the cleanliness of restaurants" to rate their users' political statements.

Original Submission

posted by chromas on Tuesday October 09 2018, @03:12PM   Printer-friendly
from the why-improve-when-you-can-reinvent? dept.

Glyn Moody over at the Linux Journal brings attention to the idea that Android's days are probably numbered and that it is time to consider viable exit strategies and file them for when they are needed later. Android is currently on over 2-billion devices around the world but the EU, goaded by Microsoft partners and proxies, has decided to fine Google 4.34 billion euros over Android for breaching EU antitrust rules weakening its usefulness. With an obvious replacement, Fuchsia, nearing completion at Google, and with the smartphone manufacturers also exploring alternative plans, such as Tizen and eelo, Android is starting to get alternatives. Just as the ages of CP/M, MS-DOS, and MS Windows have ended, so too will the current age of Android draw to a close. Eventually. Someday.

Google Fuchsia

Previously on SN, Google Hopes to Replace Android with Fuschia[sic] in Five Years

Original Submission

posted by chromas on Tuesday October 09 2018, @01:44PM   Printer-friendly
from the row-row-row-your-boat dept.


[The canal boat company] has converted six boats so far - it takes about three months to strip out the old diesel engine and install the electric engine and batteries. A typical 23m (75ft) tourist boat needs about 66 batteries, he says, making the conversion cost around 165,000 to 250,000 euros ($189,000 to $287,000; £145,000 to £220,000) per boat.

But the engines are quieter, cleaner and cheaper to run - boat companies should recoup their costs in about 12 years, according to the Paris Process on Mobility and Climate, a body supporting sustainable transport projects.

They can be recharged in about 10 hours and last about two days between charges, says Sigrid Hanekamp, an application engineer from Dutch battery company Lithium Werks, which supplied the batteries for Reederij Kooij's boats.

These batteries are not your typical lead-acid type traditionally used in cars, or even the type of lithium-ion ones becoming standard in electric vehicles, she explains. They're lithium-iron-phosphate, a chemistry Lithium Werks believes is more durable and environmentally friendly.

The boats have been converted to comply with Amsterdam's mandate that all canal boats be converted to electric by 2025, as a measure meant to preserve the environment and reduce noise.

Are measures like these heavy-handed, or necessary to move mankind past dependence on fossil fuels?

Original Submission

posted by mrpg on Tuesday October 09 2018, @12:10PM   Printer-friendly
from the we-got-you-on-video dept.

Original URL: As fake videos become more realistic, seeing shouldn't always be believing.

All it takes is a single selfie.

From that static image, an algorithm can quickly create a moving, lifelike avatar: a video not recorded, but fabricated from whole cloth by software.

With more time, Pinscreen, the Los Angeles start-up behind the technology, believes its renderings will become so accurate they will defy reality.

"You won't be able to tell," said Hao Li, a leading researcher on computer-generated video at USC who founded Pinscreen in 2015. "With further deep-learning advancements, especially on mobile devices, we'll be able to produce completely photoreal avatars in real time."

[...] Now imagine a phony video of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un announcing a missile strike. The White House would have mere minutes to determine whether the clip was genuine and whether it warranted a retaliatory strike.

-- submitted from IRC

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday October 09 2018, @10:14AM   Printer-friendly
from the bartender,-could-I-please-have-a-lander-on-the-rocks? dept.

Fields of five-story-high ice blades could complicate landing on Jupiter moon

Probes have shown that Europa's ice-bound surface is riven with fractures and ridges, and new work published today in Nature Geosciences suggests any robotic lander could face a nasty surprise [DOI: 10.1038/s41561-018-0235-0] [DX], in the form of vast fields of ice spikes, each standing as tall as a semitruck is long.

Such spikes are created on Earth in the frigid tropical peaks of the Andes Mountains, where they are called "pentinentes,"[sic] for their resemblance to devout white-clad monks. [...] Pentinentes[sic] have already been seen on Pluto. And by calculating other competing erosional processes on Europa, such as impacts and charged particle bombardment, the new work suggests the vaporization of ice would be dominant in its equatorial belt, forming pentitentes[sic] 15 meters tall spaced only 7 meters apart. Such formations could explain, the authors add, why radar observations of the planet dip in energy at its equator, the pentinentes[sic] scattering the response. But the ultimate proof of whether Europa's belly will be off limits to landing will come when the Clipper arrives in the mid-2020s.

[Update: It's penitentes. Ed.]

First it was slush. Now it's spikes. Attempt no landing there.


Also at Science News and The Verge.

NASA Releases Europa Lander Study 2016 Report
Amino Acids Could Exist Just Centimeters Under Europa's Surface

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday October 09 2018, @08:37AM   Printer-friendly
from the RIP dept.

A limo crash in New York has killed 20 people. The vehicle sped downhill towards an intersection of two highways, hit a stop sign, and crashed into a parked SUV. Two nearby pedestrians were also struck and killed:

[Read the latest: A passenger expressed concern about the limo shortly before the crash.]

The 17 friends had all piled into a white stretch limousine for what was supposed to have been a birthday celebration at an upstate New York brewery. But they never reached their destination. [...] The crash killed all 18 occupants of the limousine, including the driver, as well as two pedestrians, in an accident that left deep tire tracks in the ground and the small town about 40 miles west of Albany reeling.

[...] In an afternoon news conference outside Albany, the State Police offered few details about the accident, though Christopher Fiore, first deputy superintendent of the State Police, said that the limousine had been licensed in New York. Its driver was required to wear a seatbelt; its passengers in the back were not, he said. Only one person inside the limousine apparently survived the initial impact; that person later died after being flown in a helicopter to an Albany hospital.

Stretch limousines are modified after manufacturing and are generally not subject to the same safety regulations that are imposed on the protective structures for passenger cars. Such oversized vehicles have been involved in tragic accidents in New York before: In 2015, a limo carrying a bridal party of eight women crashed with a pickup truck in Cutchogue, N.Y., killing four people.

Further details show that the ride should never have happened:

The modified limo that crashed and killed 20 people wasn't even supposed to be on the road, New York's governor said Monday. On top of that, the driver "did not have the appropriate driver's license to be operating that vehicle," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. The startling revelations bring more anguish to those grieving the deaths of 20 people in the quaint town of Schoharie. [...] "That vehicle was inspected by the New York State Department of Transportation last month and failed inspection and was not supposed to be on the road," Cuomo said.

A relatively local paper out of Albany, NY — The Times Union — has additional information on the crash. The intersection lies at the bottom of a hill on a road with a 50 mph (~85 kph) speed limit. There have been several accidents there before, some involving tractor trailers.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday October 09 2018, @07:00AM   Printer-friendly
from the what-about-meltdown-and-spectre? dept.

Intel Announces 9th Gen Core CPUs: Core i9-9900K (8-Core), i7-9700K, & i5-9600K

Among many of Intel's announcements today, a key one for a lot of users will be the launch of Intel's 9th Generation Core desktop processors, offering up to 8-cores on Intel's mainstream consumer platform. These processors are drop-in compatible with current Coffee Lake and Z370 platforms, but are accompanied by a new Z390 chipset and associated motherboards as well. The highlights from this launch is the 8-core Core i9 parts, which include a 5.0 GHz turbo Core i9-9900K, rated at a 95W TDP.

[...] Leading from the top of the stack is the Core i9-9900K, Intel's new flagship mainstream processor. This part is eight full cores with hyperthreading, with a base frequency of 3.6 GHz at 95W TDP, and a turbo up to 5.0 GHz on two cores. Memory support is up to dual channel DDR4-2666. The Core i9-9900K builds upon the Core i7-8086K from the 8th Generation product line by adding two more cores, and increasing that 5.0 GHz turbo from one core to two cores. The all-core turbo is 4.7 GHz, so it will be interesting to see what the power consumption is when the processor is fully loaded. The Core i9 family will have the full 2MB of L3 cache per core.

[...] Also featuring 8-cores is the Core i7-9700K, but without the hyperthreading. This part will have a base frequency of 3.6 GHz as well for a given 95W TDP, but can turbo up to 4.9 GHz only on a single core. The i7-9700K is meant to be the direct upgrade over the Core i7-8700K, and although both chips have the same underlying Coffee Lake microarchitecture, the 9700K has two more cores and slightly better turbo performance, but less L3 cache per core at only 1.5MB per.

Intel also announced refreshed 8 to 18 core high-end desktop CPUs, and a new 28-core Xeon aimed at extreme workstation users.

Intel Teases 28 Core Chip, AMD Announces Threadripper 2 With Up to 32 Cores
AMD Threadripper 2 Available Starting on August 13

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday October 09 2018, @05:23AM   Printer-friendly
from the how-many-projects-have-they-shuttered? dept.

Google+ shutting down after users' data is exposed

Google is shutting down much of its social network, Google+, after user data was left exposed. It said a bug in its software meant information that people believed was private had been accessible by third parties. Google said up to 500,000 users had been affected.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the company knew about the issue in March but did not disclose it. The WSJ quoted an internal Google memo that said doing so would draw "immediate regulatory interest".

In a statement, the firm said the issue was not serious enough to inform the public. "Our Privacy and Data Protection Office reviewed this issue, looking at the type of data involved, whether we could accurately identify the users to inform, whether there was any evidence of misuse, and whether there were any actions a developer or user could take in response. None of these thresholds were met here."

Also at The Verge, Engadget, and CNBC.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday October 09 2018, @03:46AM   Printer-friendly
from the trying-to-put-a-good-spin-on-things dept.

Hubble telescope hit by mechanical failure

The Hubble Space Telescope is operating with only essential functions after it lost one of three gyroscopes needed to point the spacecraft. The observatory, described as one of the most important scientific instruments ever created, was placed in "safe mode" over the weekend, while scientists try to fix the problem. Hubble had been operating with four of its six gyroscopes when another failed on Friday.

[...] Operators will now try to revive a gyroscope that malfunctioned when flight controllers tried to bring it online to replace the failed one.

At any given time, Hubble needs three of its gyroscopes to work for optimal efficiency. If the "misbehaving" gyroscope turns out not to work, the orbiting observatory may have to operate on one. This would conserve the remaining gyros for as long as possible, but would restrict the telescope somewhat.

Dr Rachel Osten, deputy mission head for the Hubble Space Telescope, tweeted: "Very stressful weekend. Right now HST is in safe mode while we figure out what to do. Another gyro failed. First step is try to bring back the last gyro, which had been off, and is being problematic."

Also at

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday October 09 2018, @02:09AM   Printer-friendly
from the blinky-lights dept.


Neuroscientists behind the project called it "BrainNet", a "multi-person non-invasive direct brain-to-brain interface for collaborative problem solving".

In layman's terms, researchers from the University of Washington and Carnegie Mellon University figured out a way to connect three brains (still attached to their human hosts!) and have the owners of said brains make collective choices together without speaking.

And they tested it by playing Tetris. Because of course they did.

The team used "electroencephalograms" (EEGs) to record electric impulses from two human brains and "transcranial magnetic stimulation" (TMS) to deliver information to a third brain. The end result: an interface that allowed three human subjects to collaborate and solve Tetris problems using brain-to-brain communication.

The article doesn't say how much calibration they had to perform for each group of test subjects, to make sure they were isolating the correct signal from the senders' brains.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday October 09 2018, @12:32AM   Printer-friendly
from the who's-your-mommy? dept.

Scientists Create Immature Human Eggs Out of Blood Cells For the First Time

Scientists in Japan have used human blood to successfully create immature human egg cells in a lab for the first time, according to new research published Thursday in Science [DOI: 10.1126/science.aat1674] [DX]. The work is a major breakthrough in stem cell research and may lead the way to babies that can be created in a lab using the body tissues or blood of their relatives.

Mitinori Saitou, a biologist at Kyoto University who contributed to this pioneering research, managed to produce mouse eggs and sperm from stem cells back in 2012 [DOI: 10.1126/science.1226889] [DX] and used them to breed healthy baby mice. It was the first time that eggs were created from embryonic stem cells.

When Saitou and his colleagues first produced artificial mouse egg cells, these were grown to maturity inside a simulated mouse ovary constructed from the tissue of fetal mice. Since this tissue would be next to impossible to obtain from humans, the researchers had to figure out a different way of creating an artificial ovary.

To produce immature human eggs, Saitou and his colleagues used human blood cells to create induced pluripotent stem cells, which are notable for their ability to become any type of cell. These cells were then injected into tiny, artificial ovaries that were grown in the lab using embryonic cells derived from mice.

The eggs produced by Saitou and his colleagues are far too immature to be fertilized, much less grow into a human child. Still, they open the door for babies made from the genetic material of relatives, dead or alive. They could also provide a way for infertile people or same-sex partners to produce a child made from their own DNA.

Also at Smithsonian Magazine and NPR.

Original Submission