2019-01-01 00:00:00 ..
2019-06-13 18:25:25 UTC
2019-06-13 23:30:01 UTC
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Losing even one in 10 customers would substantially reduce airlines' revenue. They don't make much money on each flight as it is; less income would likely cause them to shrink their service, flying fewer routes less frequently.
The problem wouldn't just be customers who chose not to fly. Some passengers might split trips between self-driving cars and airplanes, which would further reduce airlines' revenue. For instance, a person in Savannah, Georgia, who wants to go to London could choose to change planes in Atlanta—or take a self-driving car to the Atlanta airport, and skip the layover.
These changes could substantially change the aviation industry, with airlines ordering fewer airplanes from manufacturers, airports seeing fewer daily flights and lower revenue from parking lots, and even airport hotels hosting fewer guests. The future of driverless cars is appealing to consumers—which means the future of commercial flight is in danger.
A personal fondling session from a TSA agent named Brad, or 5 hours in your self-driving Mazda that your four-year old smeared peanut butter in?
Relativity Space has signed an agreement with NASA to convert a large industrial building in southern Mississippi into what may become the world's first autonomous rocket factory. The factory is conveniently located just two miles from where Relativity plans to test engines and stages for its Terran 1 rocket.
Building 9101 at Stennis Space Center encompasses 220,000 square feet of factory facilities, which is greater than the combined area of three American football fields. NASA inherited the space from the US military about 20 years ago but has not used it. The property also includes multiple bridge cranes, which is useful for moving large aerospace parts around, and an 80-foot-high bay for the vertical integration of rockets.
"This building will be a long-term enabler of our vision," said Jordan Noone, co-founder and chief technology officer for Relativity. Based in Los Angeles, the company aspires to use 3D printing, machine learning, and automated technologies to build rockets at a lower cost in days or weeks instead of years.
The nine-year lease, which includes options for extensions, came at a "very low cost" said Noone. The state of Mississippi also offered an incentive package because the company says it will bring high-paying, high-tech jobs to the region. Over the next five years, Relativity will invest $60 million in infrastructure and grow its on-site team from 10 employees—presently engaged in engine and stage testing at a Stennis facility—to 200 workers.
Hmm, yes, but rocket factories tend to harbor ghouls...
Submitted via IRC for Runaway1956
NASA will allow private citizens to stay at the International Space Station (ISS) for month-long getaways at a cost of about $35,000 per night, the U.S. space agency said on Friday.
[...] But the ride won't be cheap.
NASA estimated the cost of a flight would be around $50 million per seat. In addition, NASA will charge visitors for food, storage and communication once at the station.
"If you look at the pricing and you add it up, back of a napkin, it would be roughly $35,000 a night, per astronaut," NASA's Chief Financial Officer Jeff DeWit told a news conference in New York.
"But it won't come with any Hilton or Marriott points," DeWit deadpanned.
Submitted via IRC for Bytram
Enter BroadwayHD. Founded by a husband-and-wife team with a combined 83 years of experience in the Broadway business, the niche service is like Netflix for theater. It offers a library of plays and musicals to stream on demand for a $9-a-month subscription. These aren't those out-of-focus iPhone recordings of your nephew's fifth-grade talent show. BroadwayHD specializes in live captures of high-end theatrical productions with HD or 4K cameras and the same audio that feeds into a theater's soundboard.
BroadwayHD doesn't have any of Sunday's Tony-winning productions like Hadestown, The Ferryman or Oklahoma. For now, it takes whatever it can get, which means most of its shows have ended their live runs. But the fact that BroadwayHD exists at all is a feat. Until three years ago, no service like it had ever ventured online.
One of the main reasons: For people who worship theater, including many who make it, live tapings skirt uncomfortably close to sacrilege.
"[Some] people sign up to do live theater because it's live. Your memory of it is right there, right then, and you leave with your experience," said Sydney Beers, general manager of the Roundabout Theatre Company in New York, which set a Guinness World Record with BroadwayHD for the first livestream of a Broadway show. "For some people, they feel strongly that you're not meant to be able to go and rent and watch again."
Hackers broke into a database of images of travellers and licence plates collected by US Customs and Border Protection, the agency said on Monday.
The hackers gained access to the images through a subcontractor's network, CBP said. The subcontractor, which the agency declined to name, had transferred the photographs to its network in violation of CBP policies"
The CBP makes extensive use of cameras and video recordings at airports and land border crossings, where images of vehicles are captured. Those images are used as part of a growing agency facial-recognition program designed to track the identity of people entering and exiting the US.
The CBP said airport operations were not affected by the breach, but it declined to say how many people might have had their images stolen.
The Sydney Morning Herald has further details
A CBP statement said that the agency learnt of the breach on May 31 and that none of the image data had been identified "on the dark web or internet."
But reporters at The Register, reported late last month that a large haul of breached data from the firm Perceptics was being offered as a free download on the dark web.
The CBP would not say which subcontractor was involved. But a Microsoft Word document of the agency's public statement, sent on Monday to Washington Post reporters, included the name "Perceptics" in the title: CBP Perceptics Public Statement.
Perceptics representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
CBP spokeswoman Jackie Wren said she was "unable to confirm" whether Perceptics was the source of the breach.
Pay peanuts, get monkeys... but this is government contracting, so pay lots and lots of peanuts, get... much bigger monkeys?
As many of you are aware, SoylentNews uses Let's Encrypt certificates to protect the vast majority (all?) of our networking connections.
Under the watchful eyes of The Mighty Buzzard and SemperOSS I have updated our certs and deployed them across our servers and services. At this point, all seems to be working fine. That said, I have a well-earned reputation of being able to break nearly anything, so it would not entirely surprise me if you find something awry. If so, please let us know! You can comment on this story and/or jump over to the "#dev" channel on IRC and let us know there.
For completeness' sake, the updated certs were rolled out at 20190611_140630 UTC.
NOTE: Do be aware it takes time for updated DNS records to work their way across the internet, so if you do encounter a problem, try clearing your cache and trying again before assuming things are borked.
Submitted via IRC for SoyCow4463
Mastercard wants to make paying for items online both a little easier and a little safer — and it’s using some pretty fancy tech to make that happen. The company announced the new Mastercard Digital Wellness program, which is aimed at deploying new standards and implementing a ton of tech to enable businesses to protect their customers’ data.
As part of the new program, Mastercard plans on deploying EMVCo’s (Europay, Mastercard, Visa) standards, which includes a new click-to-pay checkout system — replacing old key-entry checkout systems and making it much easier to make purchases. The system is compatible across systems, too — it can be used for all kinds of online shopping, multiple devices, and across cards.
"We launched Mastercard Digital Wellness today because we believe that businesses shouldn't have to sacrifice safety or choice as they build the best experiences for their customers," Mastercard executive Jess Turner said in a statement. "Any changes to how we shop online must deliver enhanced levels of security, transparency, and flexibility for everyone"
[...] Of course, just because the new Digital Wellness program is available to merchants, that doesn’t necessarily mean that merchants will actually adopt it.
Submitted via IRC for Bytram
Over a decade ago, I was sitting in a college math physics course and my professor spelt out an idea that kind of blew my mind. I think it isn't a stretch to say that this is one of the most widely applicable mathematical discoveries, with applications ranging from optics to quantum physics, radio astronomy, MP3 and JPEG compression, X-ray crystallography, voice recognition, and PET or MRI scans. This mathematical tool—named the Fourier transform, after 18th-century French physicist and mathematician Joseph Fourier—was even used by James Watson and Francis Crick to decode the double helix structure of DNA from the X-ray patterns produced by Rosalind Franklin. (Crick was an expert in Fourier transforms, and joked about writing a paper called, "Fourier Transforms for birdwatchers," to explain the math to Watson, an avid birder.)
You probably use a descendant of Fourier's idea every day, whether you're playing an MP3, viewing an image on the web, asking Siri a question, or tuning in to a radio station. (Fourier, by the way, was no slacker. In addition to his work in theoretical physics and math, he was also the first to discover the greenhouse effect.)
So what was Fourier's discovery, and why is it useful?
The story provides great visual examples of how even complex waves can be approximated by a series of sine waves summed together. Further, the parameters to the sine waves and a much more concise description of the approximated item. Examples are given of a roughly-square wave. Another example uses circles instead of sine waves. A great YouTube video shows these in action.
Wish I had this available to me before I was taught FT and FFT in college!
At The Daily Beast, Alex Jones ordered to pay Furie.
Fringe conspiracy-theory outlet InfoWars settled a lawsuit Monday over their use of cartoon character "Pepe the Frog," paying $15,000 to Pepe's creator and promising never to use the cartoon again.
Pepe—a morose, previously apolitical character created by cartoonist Matt Furie—was co-opted by far-right groups and Trump supporters during the 2016 election. Furie has since tried to regain control over the character's image, pursuing legal action against a series of websites.
The InfoWars lawsuit, filed last year, centered on a poster sold by InfoWars featuring Pepe alongside Trumpworld personalities like Roger Stone, InfoWars founder Alex Jones, and pundits "Diamond & Silk."
Before settling, InfoWars tried a novel legal strategy of suggesting, without evidence, that Furie had actually based Pepe on an Argentinian amphibian cartoon character named "El Sapo Pepe." But on Tuesday, InfoWars agreed to destroy all remaining copies of the poster, and pay back the $14,000 it made from the poster sales—along with an additional $1,000.
It's the principle, not the money.
Furie is donating the extra $1,000 to amphibian conservation group Save the Frogs.
"It's a charity dedicated to frog preservation," Tompros said. "Real frogs, not cartoon frogs."
Submitted via IRC for Bytram
New ALMA observations reveal a never-before-seen disk of cool, interstellar gas wrapped around the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. This nebulous disk gives astronomers new insights into the workings of accretion: the siphoning of material onto the surface of a black hole. The results are published in the journal Nature.
Through decades of study, astronomers have developed a clearer picture of the chaotic and crowded neighborhood surrounding the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. Our galactic center is approximately 26,000 light-years from Earth and the supermassive black hole there, known as Sagittarius A* (A "star"), is 4 million times the mass of our Sun.
We now know that this region is brimming with roving stars, interstellar dust clouds, and a large reservoir of both phenomenally hot and comparatively colder gases. These gases are expected to orbit the black hole in a vast accretion disk that extends a few tenths of a light-year from the black hole's event horizon.
[...]Although our galactic center black hole is relatively quiet, the radiation around it is strong enough to cause hydrogen atoms to continually lose and recombine with their electrons. This recombination produces a distinctive millimeter-wavelength signal, which is capable of reaching Earth with very little losses along the way.
With its remarkable sensitivity and powerful ability to see fine details, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) was able to detect this faint radio signal and produce the first-ever image of the cooler gas disk at only about a hundredth of a light-year away (or about 1000 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun) from the supermassive black hole. These observations enabled the astronomers both to map the location and trace the motion of this gas. The researchers estimate that the amount of hydrogen in this cool disk is about one tenth the mass of Jupiter, or one ten-thousandth of the mass of the Sun.
By mapping the shifts in wavelengths of this radio light due to the Doppler effect (light from objects moving toward the Earth is slightly shifted to the "bluer" portion of the spectrum while light from objects moving away is slightly shifted to the "redder" portion), the astronomers could clearly see that the gas is rotating around the black hole. This information will provide new insights into the ways that black holes devour matter and the complex interplay between a black hole and its galactic neighborhood.
"We were the first to image this elusive disk and study its rotation," said Elena Murchikova, a member in astrophysics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and lead author on the paper. "We are also probing accretion onto the black hole. This is important because this is our closest supermassive black hole. Even so, we still have no good understanding of how its accretion works. We hope these new ALMA observations will help the black hole give up some of its secrets."
Reference: E.M. Murchikova, et al., “A cool accretion disk around the Galactic Center black hole,” Nature, 06 June 2019
Submitted via IRC for AndyTheAbsurd
Voting machine maker ES&S has said it “will no longer sell” paperless voting machines as the primary device for casting ballots in a jurisdiction.
ES&S chief executive Tom Burt confirmed the news in an op-ed.
TechCrunch understands the decision was made around the time that four senior Democratic lawmakers demanded to know why ES&S, and two other major voting machine makers, were still selling decade-old machines known to contain security flaws.
Burt’s op-ed said voting machines “must have physical paper records of votes” to prevent mistakes or tampering that could lead to improperly cast votes. Sen. Ron Wyden introduced a bill a year ago that would mandate voter-verified paper ballots for all election machines.
The chief executive also called on Congress to pass legislation mandating a stronger election machine testing program.
Burt’s remarks are a sharp turnaround from the company’s position just a year ago, in which the election systems maker drew ire from the security community for denouncing vulnerabilities found by hackers at the annual Defcon conference.
In a 2017 study [...] four biologists wrote [open, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1709035114] [DX] that "it has not escaped our notice" that a funny little "jumping gene" might be harnessed for precision genome editing, giving classic CRISPR a hand at something it struggles to do: insert a string of healthy DNA in place of a disease-causing sequence, which for some genetic diseases might be the only path to a true cure.
The lead author of that study has been trying ever since to repurpose the jumping gene, but he (and other labs) was beaten to the punch on Thursday by CRISPR pioneer Feng Zhang of MIT and the Broad Institute. In a paper [DOI: 10.1126/science.aax9181] [DX] in Science that zoomed from submission to acceptance in just 25 days (four months is more usual), Zhang and his colleagues describe turning a jumping gene — aka a transposon, or mobile genetic element — into a mini TaskRabbit gig worker: With an assist from CRISPR enzymes, it zips over to the part of the genome whose address it is given and delivers a package of DNA, pronto.
Zhang's team did all this in lowly bacteria, but other genome-editing biologists said the system could very well work in human cells, too, especially for repairing a disease-causing gene. "I think it's something that could be used therapeutically," said reproductive biologist Shoukhrat Mitalipov of Oregon Health and Science University, who was the first scientist in the U.S. to use CRISPR in human embryos. (He didn't create pregnancies with them.) "It could even be very important" for treating disease via genome editing, he added, because "it seems more efficient and precise [than classic CRISPR]. It's only a first step, but it's really encouraging."
This particular transposon, called Tn7, was discovered decades ago in bacteria. In general, transposons are pieces of DNA that sit within a genome, but for reasons that are somewhat mysterious have the ability to cut themselves out of their original site and jump to another. Tn7 uses the CRISPR enzyme Cas12 to lead it to its next home. Rather than cutting DNA, as Cas12 usually does, when paired with Tn7 it keeps its molecular scissors sheathed. Ever since the "it has not escaped our notice" hint in the 2017 paper, scientists have been looking for ways to control where the jumping gene jumps to. Constructing a new guide molecule should allow scientists to control where the DNA inserts itself in the genome.
Also at Phys.org.
A Russian scientist says he is planning to produce gene-edited babies, an act that would make him only the second person known to have done this. It would also fly in the face of the scientific consensus that such experiments should be banned until an international ethical framework has agreed on the circumstances and safety measures that would justify them.
Molecular biologist Denis Rebrikov has told Nature he is considering implanting gene-edited embryos into women, possibly before the end of the year if he can get approval by then. Chinese scientist He Jiankui prompted an international outcry when he announced last November that he had made the world's first gene-edited babies — twin girls.
The experiment will target the same gene, called CCR5, that He did, but Rebrikov claims his technique will offer greater benefits, pose fewer risks and be more ethically justifiable and acceptable to the public. Rebrikov plans to disable the gene, which encodes a protein that allows HIV to enter cells, in embryos that will be implanted into HIV-positive mothers, reducing the risk of them passing on the virus to the baby in utero. By contrast, He modified the gene in embryos created from fathers with HIV, which many geneticists said provided little clinical benefit because the risk of a father passing on HIV to his children is minimal.
[...] "The technology is not ready," says Jennifer Doudna, a University of California Berkeley molecular biologist who pioneered the CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing system that Rebrikov plans to use. "It is not surprising, but it is very disappointing and unsettling."
Alta Charo, a researcher in bioethics and law at the University of Wisconsin-Madison says Rebrikov's plans are not an ethical use of the technology. "It is irresponsible to proceed with this protocol at this time," adds Charo, who sits on a World Health Organization committee that is formulating ethical governance policies for human genome editing.
Third time's the charm? I guess they won't pick a genetic disease to target instead since preimplantation genetic diagnosis can already handle that. Others will have to resort to gene therapy after the child is born.
Previously: Chinese Scientist Claims to Have Created the First Genome-Edited Babies (Twins)
Furor Over Genome-Edited Babies Claim Continues (Updated)
Chinese Gene-Editing Scientist's Project Rejected for WHO Database (Plus: He Jiankui is Missing)
Chinese Scientist Who Allegedly Created the First Genome-Edited Babies is Reportedly Being Detained
China Confirms That He Jiankui Illegally Edited Human Embryo Genomes
China's CRISPR Babies Could Face Earlier Death
At AMD's keynote at the 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), AMD CEO Lisa Su announced three new "7nm" Navi GPUs and a new CPU.
The AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT will have 2560 stream processors (40 compute units) capable of 9.75 TFLOPs of FP32 performance, with 8 GB of 14 Gbps GDDR6 VRAM. The price is $449. The AMD RX 5700 cuts that down to 2304 SPs (36 CUs), 7.9 TFLOPs, at $379. There is a higher clocked "50th anniversary" version of the 5700 XT that offers up to 10.14 teraflops for $499. A teraflop on one of these new cards supposedly means better graphics performance than older Polaris-based GPUs:
Looking at these clockspeed values then, in terms of raw throughput the new card is expected to get between 9 TFLOPs and 9.75 TFLOPs of FP32 compute/shading throughput. This is a decent jump over the Polaris cards, but on the surface it doesn't look like a huge, generational jump, and this is where AMD's RDNA architecture comes in. AMD has made numerous optimizations to improve their GPU utilization – that is, how well they put those FLOPs to good use – so a teraflop on a 5700 card means more than it does on preceding AMD cards. Overall, AMD says that they're getting around 25% more work done per clock on the whole in gaming workloads. So raw specs can be deceiving.
The GPUs do not include real-time raytracing or variable rate pixel shading support. These may appear on a future generation of GPUs. Instead, AMD talked about support for DisplayPort 1.4 with Display Stream Compression, a contrast-enhancing post-processing filter, AMD Radeon Image Sharpening, and a Radeon Anti-lag feature to reduce input lag.
Towards the end of the presentation, AMD revealed the 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X, the company's fully-fledged Ryzen CPU with two 8-core "7nm" Zen 2 chiplets. Compared to the 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X CPU, the 3950X has a slightly higher boost clock and L2 cache, with the same 105 Watt TDP, for $749. This is the full lineup so far:
|CPU||Cores / Threads||Frequency||TDP||Price|
|Ryzen 9 3950X||16 / 32||3.5 - 4.7 GHz||105 W||$749|
|Ryzen 9 3900X||12 / 24||3.8 - 4.6 GHz||105 W||$499|
|Ryzen 7 3800X||8 / 16||3.9 - 4.5 GHz||105 W||$399|
|Ryzen 7 3700X||8 / 16||3.6 - 4.4 GHz||65 W||$329|
|Ryzen 5 3600X||6 / 12||3.8 - 4.4 GHz||95 W||$249|
|Ryzen 5 3600||6 / 12||3.6 - 4.2 GHz||65 W||$199|
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam vowed on Monday to push ahead with amendments to laws allowing suspects to be extradited to mainland China a day after the city's biggest protest since its handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997.
Riot police ringed Hong Kong's legislature and fought back a hardcore group of several hundred protesters who stayed behind early on Monday after Sunday's peaceful march that organizers said drew more than a million people, or one in seven of the city's people.
"I don't think it is (an) appropriate decision for us now to pull out of this bill because of the very important objectives that this bill is intended to achieve," a somber Lam told reporters while flanked by security and justice chiefs.
Also at NYT.
Call it the "Little Bog of Horrors." In what is believed to be a first for North America, biologists at the University of Guelph have discovered that meat-eating pitcher plants in Ontario's Algonquin Park wetlands consume not just bugs but also young salamanders.
[...]Pitcher plants growing in wetlands across Canada have long been known to eat creatures—mostly insects and spiders—that fall into their bell-shaped leaves and decompose in rainwater collected there.
But until now, no one had reported this salamander species caught by a pitcher plant in North America, including Canada's oldest provincial park, a popular destination where the plants have been observed for hundreds of years.
[...]In summer 2017, then undergraduate student Teskey Baldwin found a salamander trapped inside a pitcher plant during a U of G field ecology course in the provincial park.
[...]Monitoring pitcher plants around a single pond in the park in fall 2018, the team found almost one in five contained the juvenile amphibians, each about as long as a human finger. Several plants contained more than one captured salamander.
Those observations coincided with "pulses" of young salamanders crawling onto land after changing from their larval state in the pond. Smith said these bog ponds lack fish, making salamanders a key predator and prey species in food webs.
[...]Some trapped salamanders died within three days, while others lived for up to 19 days.
More information: Patrick D. Moldowan et al, Nature's pitfall trap: Salamanders as rich prey for carnivorous plants in a nutrient‐poor northern bog ecosystem, Ecology (2019). DOI: 10.1002/ecy.2770
Yucatán, Mexico is adding a new solar energy production facility which can produce up to 18 megawatts of electricity, serving about 5.3% of the state's households. Additional facilities are on the way, with aims to produce a massive surplus within three or four years.
The San Ignacio solar plant, which covers 66 hectares[*] in the municipality of Progreso, was inaugurated Friday by Governor Mauricio Vila Dosal. The Chinese company Jinko Solar invested US $30 million to build the plant.
Energy generated by the plant will be consumed in Progreso and the state capital, Mérida.