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2020-07-01 00:00:00 ..
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2020-09-23 12:34:24 UTC --martyb

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I usually take my coffee:

  • Black
  • With cream (or milk)
  • With sugar (or sweetener)
  • With cream && sugar
  • Heathenisticallly decaf
  • Crushed and snorted
  • I prefer tea, TYVM
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[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:126 | Votes:169

posted by Fnord666 on Thursday May 16 2019, @10:29PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the apollo-18 dept.

SpaceIL, an Israeli nonprofit organization, is dedicated to landing the first Israeli spacecraft on the Moon. Beresheet was their first attempt at meeting this goal. While the spacecraft did land, it first touched the surface about 1000 meters per second faster than intended. The mishap occurred late in the descent profile when the main engine failed—resulting in a very low-angle (<10°), high-speed impact.

The Beresheet impact occurred on 11 April 2019 and LRO passed overhead 11 days later, allowing LROC to acquire a six-image (three NAC left-right pairs) sequence of the search area. The coordinates of the darkest pixel (lowest reflectance) of the central "smudge" are 32.5956°N, 19.3496°E, with a 20-m (latitude) by 8-m (longitude) 95% confidence interval, estimated from seven images acquired before the impact event (over the course of the LRO mission). The elevation is ~2613 meters, and although the uncertainty is not well constrained at this time, it is likely less than 10 meters.

What really happened is they encountered this.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday May 16 2019, @08:52PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the live-long-and-prosper? dept.

Switching supply units used today are of light weight and compact design, but also susceptible to errors due to the incorporated electrolyte capacitors. Film capacitors would have much longer service lives. However, they need up to ten times more space. Scientists of KIT's[*] Light Technology Institute (LTI) have now developed a digital control method for use of film capacitors that need slightly more space only.

The control method runs on a microprocessor integrated in the supply unit and detects disturbing environmental impacts, such that e.g. higher voltage fluctuations can be balanced. Hence, storage capacitors of reduced capacity are sufficient. Michael Heidinger, LTI, summarizes the advantages: "Use of these film capacitors eliminates the main cause of failure of power supplies, i.e. electrolyte capacitors. Depending on the design, service life may be increased by a factor of up to three." The result is a much reduced maintenance expenditure.

This one is digital.

[*] Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Thursday May 16 2019, @07:12PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the lots-of-litigation dept.

The Stanford University Law School now has its Non-Practicing Entity (NPE) Litigation Database online. It contains over 43,000 patent lawsuits filed from 2007 to 2017, supposedly in full, and searchable in a wide variety of fields, including plaintiff type, party name, and patent number. Some sample searches are demoed, free of registration. An additional 20% random sample of over 12,500 lawsuits filed from 2000 to 2017 is also available. The database will be updated with recent and future cases on an ongoing basis.

The Stanford Non-Practicing Entity (NPE) Litigation Database (the Database) is the first publicly available database to track comprehensively how practicing entities, non-practicing entities, and patent assertion entities (PAEs) use patents in litigation. NPEs are entities that do not make products or offer services. PAEs—often called "patent trolls"—are NPEs that employ patents primarily to obtain license fees, rather than to support the transfer or commercialization of technology. Patent litigation by practicing entities, PAEs, and other types of NPEs including universities and early-stage startups differs in its purpose and impact on innovation, so the Database enables more sophisticated research into the working of the U.S. patent system.

To complete the Database, Stanford Law student researchers review every lawsuit filed in U.S. district courts from 2000 to the present and identify each patent plaintiff as either a practicing entity or as one of eleven types of NPE. The project report, Who's Suing Us? Decoding Patent Plaintiffs since 2000 with the Stanford NPE Litigation Dataset defines the twelve categories of patent owner. It also includes descriptive statistics and trends in the share of U.S. patent litigation attributable to patent owners in each category, based on a random sample of over 10,800 lawsuits filed from 2000 to 2015. Additional information on the genesis of this project is available at

The database is only available to registered users.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Thursday May 16 2019, @05:48PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the "The-Graduate" dept.

Supermarkets, manufacturers and packaging companies are under more pressure than ever to create less waste. Report after report details the menace that discarded plastic poses to our waterways, coasts, sea life and even our health. Ministers have promised action. Philip Hammond, the chancellor, wants to tax any plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled material. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is planning a bottle deposit scheme, following Scotland's lead, and wants to create a uniform system of recycling across England, rather than leaving it to local authorities to choose. Supermarkets say they are taking the issue seriously. Iceland is aiming for all its own-brand products to be plastic-free by 2023, while others such as Tesco and Lidl say they are making much more of their packaging recyclable and reducing it where they can.

But the Recycling Association, which represents independent waste and recycling operators, believes they could be doing more. A lot more.

[...] The worst example in this aisle is a packet of Tesco's Ripe and Ready Conference Pears, with three types of plastic, none of which can be recycled. The four pears come on a plastic-foam tray, with a laminated plastic film around them, and a flat, stiff, clear plastic shield. "That's madness, absolutely madness," he says. "It's sort of understandable because it's probably protecting them from bruising, but cardboard would be so much better." A Tesco spokesman said all its packaged pears would come in a recyclable pulp tray from next week and that the rest of the packaging protected the fruit, causing less food waste.

Food waste is a significant environmental problem – the UK throws away about 7.3m tonnes of food a year, 85% coming from households, and the unused food represents a large carbon footprint. The solution, according to Curtis, is to use plastic that can easily be recycled. A different pack of pears comes in a bag with plastic that stretches. "We could recycle this," Curtis says. "The problem is that there is such a wide variety of standards. Most councils can't do this so it ends up in waste."

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Thursday May 16 2019, @04:11PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the your-mileage-may-vary dept.

Autoweek (and other car news outlets) summarize some independent testing:

AAA partnered with the Automotive Club of Southern California's Automotive Research Center for its tests, which allowed it to run drive-simulating dynamometer tests in 20-, 75- and 95-degree Fahrenheit temperatures in a controlled laboratory setting. This is way more scientific than anything we'd be able to achieve toodling around in an EV in Detroit the next time a polar vortex hits.

A handful of key points pulled from the report:

- The increased use of HVAC systems in extreme temperatures has a bigger impact on EV range than decreases in battery pack efficiency caused by the temperatures themselves.

- Moreover, while both extremely hot and extremely cold temperatures affect range, you'll incur a significantly larger penalty when heating up a cabin than you will cooling one down. Compare that 41 percent decrease at 20 F to a mere 17 percent decrease at 95 F.

- The BMW i3s saw the biggest reductions in range in both hot and cold conditions, losing 50 and 21 percent of range in cold and hot conditions, respectively.

- The Nissan Leaf was the most versatile, losing 31 and 11 percent of range in cold and hot conditions, respectively.

The other test cars, Tesla S, eGolf and Chevy Bolt fell between these extremes. The article includes a link (pdf) to the original report with many more details. Worth reading if you live outside southern CA and are considering an electric car.

This AC is considering an electric car, and I'm fortunate enough to have an attached garage to keep it warm-ish, probably above freezing, even if the outside temp gets down to 0F (-18C) which is a typical low for my location. That means that any trip will start with a cool (not cold) battery & cabin...but after parking outdoors at my destination(s), I'll have a reduced range for the trip home.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Thursday May 16 2019, @02:34PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the not-a-coalition dept.

Submitted via IRC for Bytram

Fourth-largest coal producer in the US files for bankruptcy

Cloud Peak Energy, the US' fourth-largest coal mining company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy late last week as the company missed an extension deadline to make a $1.8 million loan payment.

In a statement, Cloud Peak said it will continue to operate its three massive coal mines in Wyoming and Montana while it goes through the restructuring process. Colin Marshall, the president and CEO of the company, said that he believed a sale of the company's assets "will provide the best opportunity to maximize value for Cloud Peak Energy."

Cloud Peak was one of the few major coal producers who escaped the significant coal industry downturn between 2015 and 2016. That bought it a reputation for prudence and business acumen.

But thinning margins have strained the mining company as customers for thermal coal continue to dry up. Coal-fired electricity is expected to fall this summer, even though summer months are usually boom times for coal plants as air conditioning bolsters electricity demand. That's because cheap natural gas and a boost in renewable capacity have displaced dirtier, more expensive coal.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Thursday May 16 2019, @12:57PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the makes-me-wanna-cry dept.

Microsoft has issued a critical Windows update to older machines to prevent a vulnerability which could allow attacks to spread in a similar way to WannaCry.

The computing giant has taken the drastic and unusual step of providing a fix to systems it no longer supports, including Windows XP – its popular operating system released almost 18 years ago.

Microsoft says the vulnerability affects a part of the Remote Desktop Services feature on some previous versions of Windows, which could allow devastating malware attacks to pass from vulnerable computer to vulnerable computer, as WannaCry did.

WannaCry notably hit parts of the NHS in May 2017, disrupting 80 trusts across England alone because they were either infected by the ransomware or had turned off their devices or systems as a precaution.

[Update: The official Microsoft announcement should have been included in the story. Please be aware this warning applies only to older version of Windows; Windows 8 and 10 are not affected. (Hat tip to user "All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us") --martyb]


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Thursday May 16 2019, @11:20AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the power-through-tasks dept.

Submitted via IRC for AnonymousLuser

Microsoft is Relaunching PowerToys For Windows 10 Users

Microsoft announced this week that they will be bringing back the Windows PowerToys so that a new generation of users can enjoy them. To start they will be offering two new PowerToys, but have a list of others that they hope to add.

For those who are unfamiliar with Windows PowerToys, they were small freeware utilities that were created by Windows developers as side projects related to something that they were interested about. They were not supported by Microsoft and were use-at-your-own-risk type of tools.

For Windows users, especially power users, they allowed you to play with Windows internals by tweaking undocumented features, play with fun tools, or to provide functionality that made it easier to get things done.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Thursday May 16 2019, @09:43AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the wait-till-they-add-the-shock-feature dept.

Technology used in fitness trackers could hold the key to reducing cyber attacks, researchers say.

The team, from the University of Bath and Goldsmiths, University of London, are investigating a device that plugs into a computer.

It would signal when action – such as changing a password or updating anti-virus software – is needed with sound, lights and vibration.

Future uses could include alerts when an employee is using a work computer for activities such as social media or shopping


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Thursday May 16 2019, @08:06AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the zap! dept.

Cambridge researchers, working in collaboration with colleagues at Jiangnan University in China, have shown how graphene – a two-dimensional form of carbon – and other related materials can be directly incorporated into fabrics to produce charge storage elements such as capacitors, paving the way to textile-based power supplies which are washable, flexible and comfortable to wear.

The research, published in the journal Nanoscale, demonstrates that graphene inks can be used in textiles able to store electrical charge and release it when required. The new textile electronic devices are based on low-cost, sustainable and scalable dyeing of polyester fabric. The inks are produced by standard solution processing techniques.

The static cling in fresh laundry should be even more fun now.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday May 16 2019, @06:29AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the it's-over-MY-head dept.


The "great majority" of solar cells being produced at Tesla's factory in upstate New York are being sold overseas instead of being used in the company's trademark "Solar Roof" as originally intended, according to documents reviewed by Reuters.

The exporting underscores the depth of Tesla's troubles in the U.S. solar business, which the electric car maker entered in 2016 with its controversial $2.6 billion purchase of SolarCity.

Tesla has only sporadically purchased solar cells produced by its partner in the factory, Panasonic Corp, according to a Buffalo solar factory employee speaking on condition of anonymity. The rest are going largely to foreign buyers, according to a Panasonic letter to U.S. Customs officials reviewed by Reuters.

Tesla's solar cells are being bought, but not by Americans.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday May 16 2019, @04:53AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the how-abot-a-nice-pupae-puree? dept.

Consuming insects is already an everyday practice for two billion people worldwide, largely in the global east and south. Rearing them uses less land, energy, water and produces fewer greenhouse gases than traditional meats like chicken and beef, and more of their body is digestible (80-100 percent, compared to only 40 percent for beef).

They are also better for us: they are rich in protein, fat, and energy and can be a significant source of vitamins and minerals. But the Western world has still not embraced this wonder food.

Researchers think they know why: the 'disgust' factor. Insects are gross. The more interesting question is: given the enormous benefits, how can we convince people to get over the grossness?

The article argues that eating sushi and lobster was once considered disgusting, too.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday May 16 2019, @03:14AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the information-wants-to-be-free! dept.

China Fully Blocks All Versions of Wikipedia

Beijing has broadened its block of online encyclopedia Wikipedia to include all language editions, an internet censorship research group reported just weeks ahead of China's most politically explosive anniversary.

According to a report by the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), China started blocking all language editions of Wikipedia last month.

Previously, most editions of Wikipedia -- besides the Chinese language version, which was reportedly blocked in 2015 -- were available, OONI said in their report.

[...] Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organisation that operates Wikipedia, said it had not received any notices explaining the latest block.

According to the organisation, Wikipedia has been blocked intermittently in China since 2004.

[...] The expanded block of Wikipedia comes as Chinese authorities under Chinese President Xi Jinping ramp up online controls and crack down on Great Firewall circumvention tools, such as virtual private network (VPN) software.

In November, China's cyberspace authority said it had "cleaned up" 9,800 accounts on Chinese social media platforms like messaging app WeChat and the Twitter-like Weibo that it accused of spreading "politically harmful" information and rumours.

Chinese Twitter users have also told AFP that they have experienced intimidation from local authorities -- and even detention -- for their tweets.

Also at Futurism, BBC, NY Post & CNet.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday May 16 2019, @01:37AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the would-this-new-seal-seal-seal's-wounds? dept.

Uncontrolled bleeding is a very serious situation, both during surgical procedures and as a result of trauma. In most cases, it is the result of damage to a major artery or an organ like the liver. In all cases, immediate action must be taken or the victim will die. Currently, treatment for such wounds involves clamping the artery and then using sutures to close the wound. In the past, researchers have attempted to create a type of glue to stem such wounds, but thus far, none of them has worked as hoped—they were either made of toxic materials or were not strong enough to stand up to the high liquid pressure in the bloodstream. In this new effort, the researchers have developed a new type of hydrogel that solves both problems.

The researchers report that the hydrogel is made of water, gelatin and a mix of proteins and other chemicals. It was designed to be as close as possible in structure to human connective tissues. When UV light shines on the gel, it thickens and solidifies, adhering to the wound, preventing blood from flowing out. And it does so in just 20 to 30 seconds. The researchers note that it could also stand up to 290-mmHg blood pressure—much higher than normal.

Still, will the wound seal before you bleed out?

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday May 15 2019, @11:57PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Storks-on-Strike? dept.


The report, published Wednesday, showed that birth rates declined for nearly all age groups of women younger than 35 but rose for women in their late 30s and early 40s.

From 2017 to 2018, the birth rate dropped 7% among teenagers aged 15 to 19; 4% among women 20 to 24; 3% among women 25 to 29; and 1% among women 30 to 34, according to the report.

The birth rate rose 1% among women aged 35 to 39 and 2% among women 40 to 44. The rate for women 45 to 49, which also includes births to women 50 and older, did not change from 2017 to 2018.

On the other hand, there have been recent studies that indicate children born to older women enjoy better long term academic and professional success.

Original Submission

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