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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:112

posted by chromas on Tuesday March 12, @11:40PM   Printer-friendly
from the eople-crab-people-crab-people-crab-people-crab-people-crab-people-crab-people-crab-people-crab-peopl dept.

Submitted via IRC for FatPhil

Social media and internet not cause of political polarisation (new research suggests)

Using a random sample of adult internet users in the UK, researchers at the Oxford Internet Institute and the University of Ottawa examined people’s media choices, and how much they influenced their interaction with echo chambers, against six key variables: gender, income, ethnicity, age, breadth of media use and political interest. The findings reveal that rather than encouraging the use and development of echo chambers, the breadth of multimedia available actually makes it easier for people to avoid them.

Dr Grant Blank, co-author and research fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, said: ‘Whatever the causes of political polarisation today, it is not social media or the internet.

‘If anything, most people use the internet to broaden their media horizons. We found evidence that people actively look to confirm the information that they read online, in a multitude of ways. They mainly do this by using a search engine to find offline media and validate political information. In the process they often encounter opinions that differ from their own and as a result whether they stumbled across the content passively or use their own initiative to search for answers while double checking their “facts”, some changed their own opinion on certain issues.’

[...] Dr Elizabeth Dubois, co-author and Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa, said: ‘Our results show that most people are not in a political echo chamber. The people at risk are those who depend on only a single medium for political news and who are not politically interested: about 8% of the population. However, because of their lack of political engagement, their opinions are less formative and their influence on others is likely to be comparatively small.’

The echo chamber is overstated: the moderating effect of political interest and diverse media, Elizabeth Dubois & Grant Blank in Information, Communication & Society. 2018 (DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2018.1428656)

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday March 12, @10:10PM   Printer-friendly
from the chipping-away-at-the-problem dept.

Chromebook popularity could prompt another round of Intel CPU shortages

Supplies of Intel's CPUs, especially at the entry-level of the market, could worsen over the next few months according to a new report, which cites a popular period for Chromebook purchases as the reason behind the potential shortfall. This could lead to price rises and availability issues in 2019, with supply potentially only catching up with demand towards the end of the year.

Intel has experienced shortages of its most popular CPUs since August 2018, with low numbers of Core i5, Pentium, and Atom CPUs having the greatest impact on availability of devices. HP, Lenovo, and Dell, among other major suppliers, were all affected, as DigiTimes reports. Those shortages have continued throughout 2019 so far, with the lack of Core i5 options leading to greater demand for Intel's own Core i3 chips, and some AMD alternatives.

[...] All of these shortages involve Intel's 14nm CPUs, rather than its planned 10nm chip lines which could make their debut toward the end of the year. To help counter the supply issues it's facing with the older 14nm standard, Intel is set to bring new fabrication capacity online at the end of the summer, potentially increasing its chip production capabilities by up to 25 percent. That should be enough to solve the supply issues, but how long it will take to catch up with demand is still up in the air.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday March 12, @08:35PM   Printer-friendly
from the linking-up dept.

CXL Specification 1.0 Released: New Industry High-Speed Interconnect From Intel

With the battleground moving from single core performance to multi-core acceleration, a new war is being fought with how data is moved around between different compute resources. The Interconnect Wars are truly here, and the battleground just got a lot more complicated. We've seen NVLink[0], CCIX[1], and GenZ[2] come out in recent years as offering the next generation of host-to-device and device-to-device high-speed interconnect, with a variety of different features. Now CXL, or Compute Express Link, is taking to the field.

This new interconnect, for which the version 1.0 specification is being launched today, started in the depths of Intel's R&D Labs over four years ago, however what was made is being launched as an open standard, headed up by a consortium of nine companies. These companies include Alibaba, Cisco, Dell EMC, Facebook, Google, HPE, Huawei, Intel, and Microsoft, which as a collective was described as one of the companies as 'the biggest group of influencers driving a modern interconnect standard'.

[...] While some of the competing standards have 20-50+ members, the Compute Express Link actually has more founding members than PCIe (5) or USB (7). That being said however, there are a few key names in the industry missing: Amazon, Arm, AMD, Xilinx, etc. Other standards playing in this space, such as CCIX and GenZ, have common members with CXL, and when questioned on this, the comment from CXL was that GenZ made a positive comment to the CXL press release - they stated that there is a lot of synergy between CXL and GenZ, and they expect the standards to dovetail rather than overlap. It should be pointed out that Xilinx, Arm, and AMD have already stated core CCIX support, either plausible future support or in products at some level, making this perhaps another VHS / Betamax battle. The other missing company is NVIDIA, who are more than happy with NVLink and its association with IBM.

[0] NVlink:

NVIDIA® NVLink™ technology addresses this interconnect issue by providing higher bandwidth, more links, and improved scalability for multi-GPU and multi-GPU/CPU system configurations. A single NVIDIA Tesla® V100 GPU supports up to six NVLink connections and total bandwidth of 300 GB/sec—10X the bandwidth of PCIe Gen 3.

[1] CCIX:

Cache Coherent Interconnect for Accelerators (CCIX), pronounced "see-six", is an open cache coherent interconnect architecture developed by the CCIX Consortium. CCIX is designed to simplify the communication between the central processor and the various accelerators in the system through a cache-coherent extension to standard PCIe.

[2] GenZ:

An open systems Interconnect designed to provide memory-semantic access to data and devices via direct-attached, switched or fabric topologies.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday March 12, @06:58PM   Printer-friendly
from the dept.

According to the NASA Office of the Inspector General (OIG), in 2018 NASA failed for the second year in a row to implement an efficient cybersecurity program.

Based on their review, the OIG assigned a maturity level of 2 to NASA's cybersecurity program.

The Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 (FISMA) defines five levels of maturity: Level 1 (Ad-hoc), Level 2 (Defined), Level 3 (Consistently Implemented), Level 4 (Managed and Measurable), and Level 5 (Optimized).

Level 2 organizations have their policies, procedures and strategies formalized and documented, but they are not consistently implemented. The Office of Management and Budget requires organizations to get a rating of at least Level 4 for their cybersecurity program to be considered effective.

This is reflected in reality. In a breach a few months back, both past and present NASA employees had their personal information — including Social Security Numbers and other personally identifiable information — lifted from NASA servers, and that incident was not alone.

Searching SpaceX breach, Blue Origin breach, Virgin Galactic + breach....I find some rockets blowing up, but that's a different kind of breach entirely.

Security isn't as fun as rocket surgery, but get with it please.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday March 12, @05:19PM   Printer-friendly
from the birth-of-a-new-meme dept.

The Handmaid's Tale or Man-made Fail? Exposed DB of 'BreedReady' women probably not as bad as it sounds

An unprotected MongoDB database of 1.8 million women in China has been taken offline after drawing media attention for the inclusion of a data field designating whether the women are "BreedReady." The database was spotted by Victor Gevers, a researcher based in the Netherlands who founded the GDI Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on improving online security.

Interpretations of the database field in Western media swiftly skewed towards the sinister, with The Daily Beast invoking Margaret Atwood's dystopian book The Handmaid's Tale and The Guardian framing the term in the context of Chinese government concern over falling birthrates and the gender imbalance arising from government policies and cultural biases.

In a Twitter conversation with The Register, Gevers said the exposed data has been taken offline thanks to the social media attention his post received. Presently, he doesn't know who owns the data and without that, there's no way to be certain what the "BreedReady" boolean field really means. "We have talked to many people about this one and the majority thinks [it] literally means what it says," he said. "But others say this could be a language barrier thing."

Otto Kolbl, a researcher and doctoral student at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, who studies socio-economic development in China, warned against jumping to any conclusions. He suggested "BreedReady" might just be a Chinese developer's bad English for "willing to have a baby," which would not be out of place in a dating app.

BreedReady™ is a good new meme, just waiting to reproduce and be truly born. 👶

Also at The Next Web.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday March 12, @03:39PM   Printer-friendly

Discuss Fiasco by Stanisław Lem in the comments below. If you have any book suggestions for the upcoming poll, feel free to add those.

We Are Legion (We Are Bob) is the first book of the "Bobiverse" series by Dennis E. Taylor:

Dennis E. Taylor is a Canadian novelist and former computer programmer known for his large scale hard science fiction stories exploring the interaction between artificial intelligence and the human condition.

While working at his day job as a computer programmer, Taylor self published his first novel and began working with an agent to try and publish his second novel We Are Legion. However Taylor still had difficultly getting any publishing house to take on his work, eventually publishing it through his agent's in-house publishing arm. An audiobook rights deal with Audible was also reached and once recorded, We Are Legion became one of the most popular audiobooks on the service and was awarded Best Science Fiction Audiobook of the year.

[...] In October 2018 Taylor was added to the X-Prize Foundation Science Fiction Advisory Council as a "Visionary Storyteller". This group of accomplished science fiction authors help advise the X-Prize team on envisioning the future.

Previously: Announcement postMars, Ho!FoundationThe Three-Body ProblemSnow CrashThe Moon is a Harsh Mistress

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday March 12, @02:02PM   Printer-friendly
from the it-was-good-while-it-lasted dept.

Nginx, the web server competing with Apache2, has been purchased for $670 million by a competitor, F5 Networks. F5 Networks is an application services and application delivery networking company. A little less than a year ago, Nginx raised $43 million to fund expansion. Netcraft's February 2019 web server survey shows Nginx hovering at around 20% of all active sites and around a quarter of the busiest sites.

F5 said that it will be merging its own operations with those of NGINX, with current NGINX CEO Gus Robertson and founders Igor Syosev and Maxim Konovalov all joining the company.

More details can be found in the F5 Press Release and in NGINX CEO Gus Robertson's blog which also provides a history of how NGINX came to be.

[Disclaimer: SoylentNews uses NGINX.]

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday March 12, @12:23PM   Printer-friendly
from the the-times-they-are-a-changin' dept.

The American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the national association for amateur radio, has a reminder about older GPS receivers which may hit a wrap-around bug on April 6th this year.

The GPS network will encounter a small millennium bug of its own in April when the network's "week number" rolls back to zero. This known issue especially could affect those who use GPS to obtain accurate Coordinated Universal Time (i.e., UTC). In the GPS network, the number of the current week is encoded into the message the GPS receives using a 10-bit field. This allows for weeks ranging from zero to 1023. The current period began on August 1, 1999. On April 6, 2019, the week number rolls over to zero and starts counting back up to 1023.

This should not affect later-model GPS receivers that conform to IS-GPS-200 and provide UTC, [...]

Original Submission

posted by takyon on Tuesday March 12, @10:46AM   Printer-friendly
from the unparktilect:-the-wheelbound dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1984

Stingy driverless cars will clog future streets instead of parking

It's a nightmarish vision of San Francisco's future, like something out of science fiction: streets full of driverless cars, crawling along implacably but at a snail's pace, snarling traffic and bringing the city to a standstill from the iconic Ferry Building to Union Square.

But according to Adam Millard-Ball, associate professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, this scenario could come to pass simply as a result of rational behavior on the part of autonomous vehicle owners. Congestion pricing that imposes a fee or tax for driving in the downtown core could help prevent this future, but cities need to act fast, before self-driving cars are common, he argues.

Those conclusions emerge from an analysis published in the journal Transport Policy, in which Millard-Ball used game theory and a computer model of San Francisco traffic patterns to explore the effects of autonomous vehicles on parking. He found that the gridlock happens because self-driving cars don't need to park near a rider's destination – in fact, they don't need to park at all.

The autonomous vehicle parking problem (DOI: 10.1016/j.tranpol.2019.01.003) (DX)

Original Submission

posted by takyon on Tuesday March 12, @09:09AM   Printer-friendly
from the surveillance-device-caught-doing-surveillance dept.

Submitted via IRC for Bytram

Your iPhone Has A Hidden List of Every Location You've Been

Hiding in not-so-plain sight, deep within the depths of your iPhone's settings (seven layers deep, to be exact) is a level of location tracking that very few iPhone users are aware of and probably won't feel comfortable with.

Sure, many of us know that our iPhone generally tracks us when we use certain apps to enable it to share personalized information like the local weather, coffee shop recommendations, and more.

But in a quick survey I ran with some friends, not one person (out of dozens of people that I surveyed) knew where or how to navigate to this specific screen that I'm talking about here. It's called the Significant Locations list.

The Significant Locations list shows a minute-by-minute route history of my exact whereabouts in every location I've been over the past few years.

Original Submission

posted by takyon on Tuesday March 12, @07:17AM   Printer-friendly
from the cashless-grab dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1984

Sorry Amazon: Philadelphia bans cashless stores

This week, Philadelphia's mayor signed a bill that would ban cashless retail stores, according to The Morning Call. The move makes Philadelphia the first major city to require that brick-and-mortar retail stores accept cash. Besides Philadelphia, Massachusetts has required that retailers accept cash since 1978, according to CBS.

The law takes effect July 1, and it will not apply to stores like Costco that require a membership, nor will it apply to parking garages or lots, or to hotels or rental car companies that require a credit or debit card as security for future charges, according to the Wall Street Journal. Retailers caught refusing cash can be fined up to $2,000.

Amazon, whose new Amazon Go stores are cashless and queue-less, reportedly pushed back against the new law, asking for an exemption. According to the WSJ, Philadelphia lawmakers said that Amazon could work around the law under the exemption for stores that require a membership to shop there, but Amazon told the city that a Prime membership is not required to shop at Amazon Go stores, so its options are limited.

Original Submission

posted by takyon on Tuesday March 12, @05:28AM   Printer-friendly
from the eyeHole dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1984

Apple AR glasses tipped to launch in 2020 as an iPhone accessory (archive)

Apple's long-rumored augmented reality glasses could be with us as early as next year, according to reputable industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Kuo says manufacturing on the AR specs will get underway at the end of this year or the start of the next one, according to He also says that they will be reliant on a connected iPhone to do a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of processing and connectivity.

That should ensure the glasses themselves stay relatively lightweight and comfortable to wear – more Google Glass than Microsoft HoloLens.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday March 12, @03:45AM   Printer-friendly
from the death-and-taxes dept.

"...Filing your taxes has never been faster or easier, especially if you do it online....the DIY approach may cost little or nothing....Most of us prefer free software..."

This one is a little like the Emmys. "Best site for DIY tax prep" is TurboTax. "Best online tax site if you need a little help" is H&R Block. "Best site for earning bonus points" is TaxAct. "Best tax prep site to protect your identity" is TaxSlayer. "Best tax site for experienced DIY-ers" is Jackson Hewitt.

And for those that are wondering, I do pay taxes. As little as possible!

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday March 12, @02:07AM   Printer-friendly
from the Merlin,-Falcon-9,-and-Falcon-Heavy-were-developed-for-less-than-$1B-total dept.

NASA budget proposal targets SLS (Space Launch System)

The White House's fiscal year 2020 budget request for NASA proposes to delay work on an upgraded version of the Space Launch System and would transfer some of that vehicle's payloads to other rockets.

The proposal, released by the Office of Management and Budget March 11, offers a total of $21 billion for the space agency, a decrease of $500 million over what Congress appropriated in the final fiscal year 2019 spending bill signed into law Feb. 15.

A major element of the proposal is to defer work on the Block 1B version of the SLS, which would increase the rocket's performance by replacing its existing Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage with the more powerful Exploration Upper Stage. The budget "instead focuses the program on the completion of the initial version of the SLS and supporting a reliable SLS and Orion annual flight cadence," the OMB budget stated. The first SLS/Orion mission, without a crew, is now planned for the "early 2020s," according to the budget, an apparent slip from the planned 2020 launch of Exploration Mission 1.

NASA had previously planned to use the Block 1B version of SLS to launch elements of its lunar Gateway, using a "co-manifesting" capability enabled by the rocket's greater performance. Instead, according to the budget document, those components will be launched on "competitively procured vehicles, complementing crew transport flights on the SLS and Orion."

[...] The budget proposal would also remove one non-exploration payload from the SLS manifest. The proposal offers $600 million for the Europa Clipper mission, enabling a launch in 2023. However, NASA would instead seek to launch the mission on a commercial launch vehicle rather than SLS, a move it claims "would save over $700 million, allowing multiple new activities to be funded across the Agency." The fiscal year 2019 budget request also proposed a commercial launch of Europa Clipper, but Congress placed into law in the final funding bill the requirement to use SLS for that mission.

Are we nearing a good timeline?

Related: After the Falcon Heavy Launch, Time to Defund the Space Launch System?
House Spending Bill Offers NASA More Money Than the Agency or Administration Wanted
NASA Administrator Ponders the Fate of SLS in Interview
SpaceX's Falcon Heavy Could Launch Japanese and European Payloads to Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway
Northrop Grumman Exec Warns of Coming "Affordability" in the Space Launch System's Future
Impact of the Midterm Elections May be Felt at NASA
When Space Science Becomes a Political Liability

Original Submission

posted by chromas on Tuesday March 12, @12:30AM   Printer-friendly
from the do-these-stilettos-make-my-asp-look-big dept.

Scientists have discovered a new species of 'Stiletto' snake, according to an article published in the journal Zoosystematics and Evolution.

Stiletto snakes are unique in that they have what amounts to a side fang, and can even strike sideways and envenom their prey with closed mouths. Notably these snakes would not do well with snake handlers, as

Snake handlers typically hold snakes by the back of the head, but such a grip won't protect handlers from a stiletto snake's sideways fang

(technically, perhaps it is the snake handlers who would not do well.)

A revealing image of the side fang on a stiletto snake is here if you are curious how this looks.

Sometimes called mole vipers or burrowing asps, most stiletto snakes aren't venomous enough to hurt humans, but a few species produce venom toxic enough to cause tissue necrosis.

The research team collected three samples of the new species from the western Upper Guinea forests but has not determined its full range.

Original Submission