2020-01-01 00:00:00 ..
2020-02-24 18:18:28 UTC
2020-02-25 13:11:03 UTC
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Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story from RIPE (Réseaux IP Européens):
Today we allocated the last of our contiguous /22 IPv4 address blocks. We still have approximately one million addresses available, in the form of /23s and /24s, and we will continue making /22-equivalent allocations made up of these smaller blocks. Once we can no longer allocate the equivalent of a /22, we will announce that we have reached run-out. We expect this to occur in November 2019.
Following our last update in August, we received a very high number of new LIR[*] applications. We have now reached a point where the number of LIRs waiting to be activated is larger than the number of /22-equivalents remaining. This means that some of these LIRs will only be eligible to request a /24 via the waiting list by the time they are activated. We alerted these applicants to this possibility during the application process.
Due to the number of new LIR applications still to be processed, we estimate that it could be around eight weeks before we get to an application that is submitted today. To ensure fairness, we are processing all LIR applications (and IPv4 requests) in the order they were received.
It is important to note that the delay is only with LIR applications - not IPv4 requests. Existing members can still request their final /22 allocations, provided we still have addresses available.
[*] LIR: Local Internet Registry.
What, if any, measures have you taken to deal with this?
PayPal has decided to withdraw from the Libra Association, the 28-member nonprofit organization formed in June 2019 to oversee the cryptocurrency's creation and eventual consumer rollout.
The company doesn't cite a specific reason, saying only in a statement to The Verge that it decided "to forgo further participation in the Libra Association at this time and to continue to focus on advancing our existing mission and business priorities as we strive to democratize access to financial services for underserved populations."
[...] a report published by the Financial Times yesterday said PayPal had begun distancing itself from the project amid increasing regulatory scrutiny. The company reportedly signaled its intention to skip a meeting in Washington, DC scheduled for today, and the FT reports that at least one primary concern for PayPal has been the lack of attention Facebook executives have paid to Libra's considerable backlash. Another key concern is how the platform will combat money laundering activity.
[...] Losing PayPal does not necessarily signal the eventual unwinding of Libra, but the company was a major financial player, alongside existing members like Mastercard and Visa, of the Libra Association. Facebook's blockchain chief David Marcus, who oversees Libra and Facebook's companion digital wallet app Calibra, was also a former PayPal president prior to running Facebook Messenger for the social network.
Losing PayPal, in that context, is not a great sign for the health of the project. The Wall Street Journal also reported earlier this week that both Mastercard and Visa, as well as digital payment platform and processor Stripe, were also considering withdrawing from the association over similar money laundering concerns. It's unclear if fellow Libra Association member eBay, from which PayPal was spun out in 2015, plans to continue participating.
According Gizmodo, the control room of the badly damaged (and entombed) Reactor 4 at Chernobyl is now open for tourists. This comes
According to CNN:
The Chernobyl nuclear power plant has seen a huge increase in visitor numbers in recent years as part of a growing global interest in dark tourism.
And now, intrepid travelers [will] be able to get inside the control room where the world's worst nuclear accident unfolded, Chernobyl tour companies confirmed to CNN.
Those who venture inside the highly radioactive area at the infamous Reactor 4 will be provided with white protective suits, helmets and masks for the brief visits. After leaving, they will be subject to two radiology tests to measure exposure.
According to the description on a YouTube video by Ruptly:
The destroyed control room is covered with an adhesive substance that does not allow dust to form. The ruins still emit 40,000 times higher levels of radiation than natural environment.
The Gizmodo story further notes:
Sergiy Ivanchuk, director of SoloEast tours, told Reuters in June that his bookings for tours had risen 30 percent in May 2019 (when the HBO miniseries was released) compared to years prior, while bookings for the summer months had risen some 40 percent. Tour guide Viktoria Brozhko told Reuters, "Many people come here, they ask a lot of questions about the TV show, about all the events. People are getting more and more curious... During the entire visit to the Chernobyl exclusion zone, you get around two microsieverts, which is equal to the amount of radiation you'd get staying at home for 24 hours."
The walkthroughs are guided by regular(!) tour guides. The control room itself is somewhat the worse for wear, although apparently in large part due to souvenir hunters.
Those interested can find more information or even book that dream vacation here.
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
A research team led by Prof. Christian Eggeling from the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology, the Friedrich Schiller University Jena and the University of Oxford has succeeded in using high-resolution imaging to make visible how the HI virus spreads between living cells and which molecules it requires for this. Using superresolution STED fluorescence microscopy, the researchers provide direct proof for the first time that the AIDS pathogen creates a certain lipid environment for replication. "We have thus created a method for investigating how this multiplication can potentially be prevented," says Christian Eggeling. The results were published in Science Advances on October 2, 2019.
[...] They found out that only certain lipids interact with the HI virus. Although these lipids were already known in principle, the research team was able to prove this interaction directly in living and infected cells for the first time.
"This provides us with a potential target for antiviral drugs," says Christian Eggeling. "Knowing which molecules the HI virus needs in order to leave the cell and multiply is a crucial prerequisite for investigating how this can be prevented. With our technology, we can now follow this directly.“
[...] Christian Eggeling has already researched new superresolution fluorescence microscopy techniques at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen in the group of Stefan W. Hell. Together with Eric Betzig and William E. Moerner, Stefan Hell received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2014. In Jena, Eggeling is now working closely with biologists and physicians to find out how these methods can be used to detect diseases earlier and more accurately and possibly even prevent them.
Reference: C. Favard, J. Chojnacki, P. Merida, N. Yandrapalli, J. Mak, C. Eggeling, D. Muriaux: HIV-1 Gag specifically restricts PI(4,5)P2 and cholesterol mobility in living cells creating a nanodomain platform for virus assembly. In: Science Advances 2019, 5.
When China's Chang'e-4 spacecraft landed on the lunar far side on January 3rd 2019, it made history. It was the first spacecraft to visit that part of the Moon, and among its payload was a 2.6 kg (5.7 lb) mini-biosphere called the Lunar Micro Ecosystem (LME).
The sealed, cylindrical biosphere is only 18 cm (7.1 in) long and 16 cm (6.3 in) in diameter. The LME carried six lifeforms, kept in mostly Earth-like conditions except for micro-gravity and lunar radiation.
The LME carried:
- cotton seeds
- potato seeds
- rape seeds
- fruit fly eggs
- Arabidopsis thaliana, a common, hardy weed
All of these were unsuccessful, except the cotton.
The LME was not heated and depended on direct sunlight to keep it warm enough for the organisms onboard to survive and grow.
In the 14 days before nightfall, and the inevitable -190C (-310F) Lunar nighttime temperatures ended the experiment the cotton was known to have sprouted, but it was thought
that there was only one leaf, but now data indicates there were two.
[...] a 3D reconstruction based on data analysis and image processing[...] clearly shows two leaves.
China is already planning a sample return mission in the mid 2020's Chang'e-5 (or its backup Chang'e-6) and the team responsible for the LME hopes to send more lifeforms on this one as well, including potentially more complex ones.
There's a strong consensus that life on Earth got its start through RNA[*], a close chemical sibling of DNA[**]. Over the last few decades, researchers have described how individual RNA bases can spontaneously polymerize, forming longer chains that could ultimately catalyze key chemical reactions, including building even longer RNA molecules. As a result, it's clear that RNA can perform two functions: carrying heritable genetic information just as DNA does and carrying out the instructions encoded by that information.
There's far less agreement, however, on how those RNA bases themselves first form. These bases have a combination of one of two types of flat, ringed structures linked to a small, ring-shaped sugar. Over time, researchers have found sets of chemical reactions that could start with simple chemicals likely to be found on the early Earth and end up with one of the three more complex chemicals needed to form RNA. But the conditions needed for these reactions weren't compatible, raising questions about how an RNA molecule could ever form from these reactions.
Now, a group of chemists has figured out a way to form the portions of RNA that give it its identity starting from a simple set of chemicals. The work relies on materials that can easily be provided by a volcanic environment. And driving the reactions forward requires little more than a few wet/dry cycles.
[...] In the end, the authors tested a series of separate reactions that produced each of the four bases from an identical set of starting materials but requiring different intermediates for each reaction (things like iron, a specific mineral, and so on). Then, satisfied that it worked, the researchers put all the intermediates in a single pot and were able to show that the final mixture contained all four bases. That's the first time this has ever been demonstrated.
That said, it's not a complete solution, as the final reaction involves a sugar that has to be provided separately. While there are known ways of making sugars from equally simple starting materials, those methods require conditions that aren't compatible with these reactions. So we still can't make an entire RNA molecule starting with simple conditions.
The conditions also aren't entirely simple, as there are a number of reaction intermediates that must be supplied. In addition to the iron, zinc, and a mineral called lüneburgite, there are things like urea and a source of sulfur-hydrogen bonds. While it's plausible that all of these things were available on the early Earth, there will undoubtedly be some discussion about whether they were present in the same place and under the requisite conditions. And there's the issue of the fact that the sugar needs to be provided separately.
All of which is another way of saying that this doesn't completely solve the question of how life could arise from simple precursors. But that doesn't take away from the authors' accomplishment: "We show that the key building blocks of life can be created without the need for sophisticated isolation and purification procedures of reaction intermediates that are common in traditional organic chemistry."
Science, 2019. DOI: 10.1126/science.aax2747.
[*] RNA: Ribonucleic acid (RNA):
Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is a polymeric molecule essential in various biological roles in coding, decoding, regulation and expression of genes. RNA and DNA are nucleic acids, and, along with lipids, proteins and carbohydrates, constitute the four major macromolecules essential for all known forms of life. Like DNA, RNA is assembled as a chain of nucleotides, but unlike DNA it is more often found in nature as a single-strand folded onto itself, rather than a paired double-strand. Cellular organisms use messenger RNA (mRNA) to convey genetic information (using the nitrogenous bases of guanine, uracil, adenine, and cytosine, denoted by the letters G, U, A, and C) that directs synthesis of specific proteins. Many viruses encode their genetic information using an RNA genome.
Some RNA molecules play an active role within cells by catalyzing biological reactions, controlling gene expression, or sensing and communicating responses to cellular signals. One of these active processes is protein synthesis, a universal function in which RNA molecules direct the synthesis of proteins on ribosomes. This process uses transfer RNA (tRNA) molecules to deliver amino acids to the ribosome, where ribosomal RNA (rRNA) then links amino acids together to form coded proteins.
[**] DNA: Deoxyribonucleic acid:
Deoxyribonucleic acid (/diːˈɒksɪˌraɪboʊnjuːˌkliːɪk, -ˌkleɪ-/ DNA) is a molecule composed of two chains that coil around each other to form a double helix carrying genetic instructions for the development, functioning, growth and reproduction of all known organisms and many viruses. DNA and ribonucleic acid (RNA) are nucleic acids; alongside proteins, lipids and complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides), nucleic acids are one of the four major types of macromolecules that are essential for all known forms of life.
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
Working-level nuclear talks in Sweden between officials from Pyongyang and Washington have broken off, North Korea's top negotiator has said, dashing prospects for an end to months of stalemate.
The talks, at an isolated conference centre on the outskirts of Stockholm, were the first such formal discussions since US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met in June and agreed to restart negotiations that stalled after a failed summit in Vietnam in February.
The North's chief nuclear negotiator, Kim Myong Gil, who spent much of the day in talks with an American delegation, cast the blame on what he portrayed as US inflexibility, saying the other side's negotiators would not "give up their old viewpoint and attitude".
"The negotiations have not fulfilled our expectation and finally broke off," Kim told reporters outside the North Korean embassy, speaking through an interpreter.
The US State Department said Kim's comments did not reflect "the content or spirit" of nearly nine hours of talks, and Washington had accepted Sweden's invitation to return for more discussions with Pyongyang in two weeks.
"The US brought creative ideas and had good discussions with its DPRK counterparts," spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement. North Korea is also known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
She said the US delegation had previewed a number of new initiatives that would pave the way for progress in the talks, and underscored the importance of more intensive engagement.
[...] On Saturday, negotiator Kim accused the US of having no intention of solving difficulties through dialogue, but said a complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula was still possible.
It would only happen "when all the obstacles that threaten our safety and check our development are removed completely without a shadow of doubt," he said, in an apparent reference to North Korea's desire for Washington to ease economic pressure.
On Sunday, China's President Xi Jinping and the North's leader exchanged messages to reaffirm the neighbours' relationship on the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties. China is the North's only major ally.
It's about to get even harder to hail an Uber or Lyft at Los Angeles International Airport. Ride-hailing vehicles will be banned from making pickups outside LAX's terminals under new rules announced by officials on Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reports. Instead, passengers wishing to get picked up by Uber or Lyft will have to take a shuttle to a parking lot next to Terminal 1.
It's a new twist in the increasingly fraught relationship between airports and the app-based car service companies that have added to some of the confusion and congestion at most travel hubs. With more people flying than ever before and a growing share of those people expecting to use their smartphones to summon cars to pick them up, the traffic situation outside of airport terminals has reached a breaking point.
LAX is in the midst of a $14 billion revamp[*] of its aging roads and terminals. Construction has led to some road closures, while airlines are adding routes leading to an increase in passenger pickups and drop-offs.
"We understand that trying to get into the central terminal area is a challenge and has been for a long time, and we've been working to make that much better," Keith Wilschetz, deputy executive director of the Operations and Emergency Management Division at Los Angeles World Airports, told the LA Times. "This is a way we can do that."
[...] Other airports have adopted similar tactics in recent years. San Francisco International Airport, for example, recently moved almost all ride-hailing passenger pickups to the top floor of the main parking garage. Some passengers said the change has made pickups more efficient, even though it involves a longer walk from the gate. Similar changes are expected to take place at Boston's Logan International Airport.
Meanwhile, Uber and Lyft have tweaked their apps for drivers in the hopes of making drop-offs and pickups more seamless. Both companies have added a feature called rematch that allows drivers who have just dropped off a passenger to pick up a new customer without leaving the airport and waiting in an off-site area.
Submitted via IRC for pinchy
Stones Gambling Hall in Sacramento, California says it will not livestream poker games pending an investigation into cheating allegations made against one of the game's players, Mike Postle.
Postle has been a regular on "Stones Live," a live poker game streamed on Twitch. His success in the game has raised eyebrows.
The original accusations were made by Veronica Brill, another poker player who has played with Postle on "Stones Live." Since then, others have come forward with similar complaints.
Brill has no specific accusation of what Postle is doing and even admits that she can't be sure he is cheating. So why does she think he is cheating? His results are too good, according to Brill.
She said (and several professional pokers players who talked to CNBC, agreed) no one could do as well as he has, for as long as he has, on these livestreamed games.
Postle has not yet responded to CNBC's request for comment. He has defended himself on Twitter as well as on a poker podcast, "The Mouthpiece with Mike Matusow," saying "it is absolutely impossible for me to be doing what they're claiming. It is 1000% impossible."
[...] In a statement Stones Gambling Hall said: "We temporarily halted all broadcasts from Stones. We have also, as a result, halted the use of RFID playing cards."
The RFID cards contain chips, that combined with readers in the poker table, transmit information about each player's hole cards, so that viewers can see the cards on the broadcast (which is on a 30-minute delay to protect game integrity).
At this point, there is no specific allegation, no "smoking gun" as Berkey said. But many pros are pointing to those RFID cards and the hole card information, saying it's just not possible for Postle to play the way he does and win the way he does.
Submitted via IRC for carny
Strong eruption at Sheveluch volcano with ash up to 10 km (34 000 feet), pyroclastic flow produced, Russia
Russian Sheveluch volcano erupted at 23:40 UTC on October 1, 2019. The explosion produced ash plume that reached an altitude of 10 km (34 000 feet) above sea level and a pyroclastic flow that spread to the west from the active dome.
Reports said the eruption was likely a combination of lava dome explosion and collapse of fresh material from the active part of the dome in its upper NE sector.
The Aviation Color Code remains Orange, as of 04:45 UTC on October 2.
"According to satellite data, an ash plume up to 6.5 - 7.5 km a.s.l. (21 300 - 24 600 feet) continues to drift to the east from the volcano. Рrobably ash fallout on the Komandorskie Islands (Commander Islands)," the Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) said.
Explosive-extrusive eruption of the volcano continues. Ash explosions up to 10 to 15 km (32 800 - 49 200 feet) a.s.l. could occur at any time. Ongoing activity could affect international and low-flying aircraft."
A strong eruption also happened on the volcano on August 29, 2019, with ash up to 10 km (34 000 feet) above sea level.
Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1337
Prevention is better than firefighting; avoiding carelessness is one way to reduce the huge number of human-caused wildfires. But a paper in PNAS this week reports a new option for wildfire prevention: a fire retardant-carrying gel that coats vegetation in a thin film, keeping that vegetation safe from fire long enough to see it through fire season. If it is demonstrated to be safe, it could allow us to spray high-risk areas at the start of fire season and keep protection through until heavy rains start.
[...] Stanford materials scientist Anthony Yu and his colleagues wanted to figure out a way to get a retardant to stick to vegetation long enough to make it through California's fire season. They used nontoxic substances that are used in food and agricultural products—silica and cellulose—to make a carrier for a fire retardant that's already used in current formulations. The new gel makes the retardant stick to the vegetation for longer periods of time.
[...] The gel's longevity means that it could be sprayed at the start of wildfire season, and last long enough to offer protection until the first heavy rainfall. Once the heavy rain starts, wildfire risk starts dropping anyway.
The gel can be distributed using standard pumping equipment, so it should be quite easy to apply. And it wouldn't need to be sprayed everywhere: human-caused fires often start in high-risk places like roadsides. So, reducing wildfires wouldn't mean coating everything in retardant—focusing just on the high-risk zones would make a big difference.
Obviously, there's more testing needed before this option can be widely used, but this could be a beacon for a world facing ever more extreme wildfires.
Wildfire prevention through prophylactic treatment of high-risk landscapes using viscoelastic retardant fluids (DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1907855116)
Stars are born in the midst of large clouds of gas and dust. Local densifications first form "embryos," which then collect matter and grow. But how exactly does this accretion process work? And what happens when two stars form in a disk of matter? High-resolution images of a young stellar binary system for the first time reveal a complex network of accretion filaments nurturing two protostars at the center of the circumbinary disk. With these observations, an international team of astronomers led by the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics was able to identify a two-level accretion process, circumbinary disk to circumstellar disk to stars, constraining the conditions leading to the formation and evolution of binary star systems.
Most stars in the universe come in the form of pairs—binaries—or even multiple disk, the new observations now also reveal its inner structure.
"We see two compact sources, that we interpret as circumstellar disks around the two young stars," explains Felipe Alves from MPE, who led the study. "The size of each of these disks is similar to the asteroid belt in our Solar System, and their mutual distance is about 28 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun." Both protostars are surrounded by a circumbinary disk with a total mass of about 80 Jupiter masses, which shows a complex network of dust structures distributed in spiral shapes. The shape of the filaments suggest streamers of in-falling material, which is confirmed by the observation of molecular emission lines.
"This is a really important result," says Paola Caselli, director and MPE and head of the center of Astrochemical Studies. "We have finally imaged the complex structure of young binary stars, with their "feeding filaments" connecting them to the circumbinary disk. This provides important constraints for current models of star formation."
For the first time, researchers have observed at the molecular level how a protein associated with numerous health problems works.
Steven Mansoor, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues have identified the inner workings of the P2X7 protein receptor, which is associated with inflammation, coronary artery disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis and more.
The discovery - which could one day inspire new drugs to treat inflammation, coronary artery disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis and more - was published today in the journal Cell.
Oregon Health & Science University research assistant Alanna McCarthy, B.S., and OHSU researcher Steven Mansoor, M.D., Ph.D., used cryoelectron microscopy to obtain the 3D structure of a protein receptor and observe its inner workings. The protein receptor they studied is a cellular membrane protein that allows electrically charged sodium and calcium particles to enter and trigger changes in a cell.
They specifically studied the P2X7 receptor, a subtype of the ligand-gated ion channel P2X family that has been associated with inflammation, plaque buildup in arteries, cancer metastasis, neurological conditions and more.
REFERENCE: Alanna E. McCarthy, Craig Yoshioka, Steven E. Mansoor, Full-length P2X7 structures reveal how palmitoylation prevents channel desensitization[$], Cell, 11 a.m. ET Oct. 3, 2019, DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2019.09.017.
US Attorney General William Barr is leading a charge to press Facebook and other Internet services to terminate end-to-end encryption efforts—this time in the name of fighting child pornography. Barr, acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan, Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, and United Kingdom Secretary of State Priti Patel yesterday asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to hold off on plans to implement end-to-end encryption across all Facebook Messenger services "without including a means for lawful access to the content of communications to protect our citizens."
The open letter comes months after Barr said in a speech that "warrant-proof" cryptography is "extinguishing the ability of law enforcement to obtain evidence essential to detecting and investigating crimes" and allowing "criminals to operate with impunity, hiding their activities under an impenetrable cloak of secrecy." The new message echoes a joint communiqué issued by the US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand (the "Five Eyes") from July, which stated:
...it is imperative that all sectors of the digital industry including Internet Service Providers, device manufacturers and others to continue to consider the impacts to the safety of children, including those who are at risk of exploitation, when developing their systems and services. In particular, encryption must not be allowed to conceal or facilitate the exploitation of children.
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel and counterparts in the US and Australia have sent an open letter to Facebook calling on it to rethink its plans to encrypt all messages on its platforms. The policy threatens "lives and the safety of our children", they said. They said it could hamper international efforts to grant law enforcers faster access to private messages on social media, as agreed between the UK and US.
Facebook said "people have the right to have a private conversation online." The head of Facebook-owned WhatsApp Will Cathcart had previously posted on Hacker News: "End-to-end encryption protects that right for over a billion people every day."
Also at NYT.
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
Single malt Scotch whisky exported to the United States is to face a tariff of 25% from 18 October.
The new duty is part of a raft of measures being imposed by the US in retaliation against EU subsidies given to aircraft maker Airbus.
Scotch exports to the US last year were worth $1.3bn (£1bn), with single malts accounting for a large share of that.
The US was given the go-ahead to impose tariffs on $7.5bn (£6.1bn) of goods it imports from the EU following a World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling on Wednesday.
It is the latest chapter in a 15-year battle between the US and the EU over illegal subsidies for planemakers Airbus and rival Boeing.
The ruling by the WTO will mean tariffs on EU goods ranging from aircraft to agricultural products.
Brussels has threatened to retaliate similarly against US goods.
[...] The US had sought to impose tariffs on about $11bn in goods. Though the WTO cut that figure to $7.5bn, Wednesday's decision still marks the largest penalty of its kind in the organisation's history.
The WTO's dispute settlement body must formally adopt the ruling but is not expected to overturn the decision.
"Whisky" or "Whiskey"? From Wikipedia: Names and Spellings:
The spelling whiskey is common in Ireland and the United States, while whisky is used in all other whisky-producing countries. In the US, the usage has not always been consistent. [...]Since the 1960s, American writers have increasingly used whiskey as the accepted spelling for aged grain spirits made in the US and whisky for aged grain spirits made outside the US. However, some prominent American brands, such as George Dickel, Maker's Mark, and Old Forester (all made by different companies), use the whisky spelling on their labels, and the Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits, the legal regulations for spirit in the US, also use the whisky spelling throughout.
Whisky made in Scotland is known as Scotch whisky, or simply as "Scotch" (especially in North America).