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[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:112 | Votes:124

posted by chromas on Tuesday September 15, @10:23PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the send-me-a-sample dept.

SiFive to Debut RISC-V PC for Developers based on Freedom U740 next-gen SoC

In recent years, people have discussed the need to have Arm-based PCs or workstations for developers to work directly on the target hardware, and there are now several options including SynQuacer E-Series 24-Core Arm PC, Ampere eMAG 64bit Arm Workstation, and HoneyComb LX2K 16-core Arm Workstation.

Now it appears we'll soon get something similar for RISC-V architecture with SiFive to debut the first RISC-V PC for developers at the Linley Fall Processor Conference 2020 taking place on October 20-22 and October 27-29. The PC will be powered by Freedom U740 next-generation RISC-V processor that will also be introduced at the event.

We have very few details about this point in time, but the company points the SiFive Freedom U740 (FU740) SoC will enable professional developers to create RISC-V applications from bare-metal to Linux-based. The processor is said to combines[sic] a heterogeneous mix+match core complex with modern PC expansion capabilities, which probably means PCIe, SATA etc.., and the company will provide tools to ease professional software development.

Freedom U740 details are unknown, but Freedom U540 is a quad-core CPU that was used in the HiFive Unleashed single-board computer.

Related: SiFive Introduces RISC-V Linux-Capable Multicore Processor
SiFive HiFive Unleashed Not as Open as Previously Thought
SiFive Announces a RISC-V Core With an Out-of-Order Microarchitecture
GlobalFoundries and SiFive Partner on High Bandwidth Memory (HBM2E)

Original Submission

posted by chromas on Tuesday September 15, @08:29PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the RFC1945-what-RFC1945 dept.

University of Ottawa law professor, Michael Geist, writes on the copyright front that Canadian Heritage Minister, Steven Guilbeault, said the other day that it is immoral and unacceptable for web sites to link to other web sites without paying for each link.

Facebook has said that it will block all news sharing on its platform in Australia if the government proceeds with a mandated payment system, noting the limited value of the links and arguing that its referrals that are worth hundreds of millions to the news organizations. If Canada were to pursue the same strategy, Canadian news sites would also likely be blocked and a trade complaint under the USMCA would be a virtual certainty.

Yet despite the significant risks and survey data that this could lead to a less informed public, Guilbeault is aligning with Rupert Murdoch, the chief advocate for these payments in Australia. He characterizes non-payment as “immoral and unacceptable”, claiming that Facebook makes hundreds of millions of dollars from Canadian media content without fair compensation. This points to a showdown like the one taking place in Australia, even though Canada has announced significant support for the sector that Guilbeault has thus far largely failed to deliver.

He plans for new legistation sometime soon and is tangled with the use of the giants to spread disinformation and strife. Trouble has been brewing for some while as the CRTC tries to find ways for streaming companies to fund Canadian content. Guilbeault is expected to try to add new powers to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to enable a "link tax" on the Canadian part of the web. Perhaps that is ignoring, or in ignorance of, RFC 1945, the Hypertext Transfer Protocol -- HTTP/1.0.

(2018) EU’s Proposed Link Tax Would Still Harm Creative Commons Licensors
(2017) EU Study Finds Even Publishers Oppose the "Link Tax"

Original Submission

posted by chromas on Tuesday September 15, @06:30PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the making-better-use-of-what-you've-got dept.

Predicting the slow death of lithium-ion batteries:

Batteries fade as they age, slowly losing power and storage capacity.

[...] Now, a model developed by scientists at Stanford University offers a way to predict the true condition of a rechargeable battery in real-time. The new algorithm combines sensor data with computer modeling of the physical processes that degrade lithium-ion battery cells to predict the battery’s remaining storage capacity and charge level.

“We have exploited electrochemical parameters that have never been used before for estimation purposes,” said Simona Onori, assistant professor of energy resources engineering in Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (Stanford Earth). The research appears Sept. 11 in the journal IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology.

The new approach could help pave the way for smaller battery packs and greater driving range in electric vehicles. Automakers today build in spare capacity in anticipation of some unknown amount of fading, which adds extra cost and materials, including some that are scarce or toxic. Better estimates of a battery’s actual capacity will enable a smaller buffer.

“With our model, it’s still important to be careful about how we are using the battery system,” Onori explained. “But if you have more certainty around how much energy your battery can hold throughout its entire lifecycle, then you can use more of that capacity. Our system reveals where the edges are, so batteries can be operated with more precision.”

The accuracy of the predictions in this model – within 2 percent of actual battery life as gathered from experiments, according to the paper – could also make it easier and cheaper to put old electric car batteries to work storing energy for the power grid. “As it is now, batteries retired from electric cars will vary widely in their quality and performance,” Onori said. “There has been no reliable and efficient method to standardize, test or certify them in a way that makes them competitive with new batteries custom-built for stationary storage.”

Not just car batteries — I'd like to know if it could be applied to cell phones, tablets, and laptops.

Journal Reference:
Anirudh Allam, Simona Onori. Online Capacity Estimation for Lithium-Ion Battery Cells via an Electrochemical Model-Based Adaptive Interconnected Observer, IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology (DOI: 10.1109/TCST.2020.3017566)

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday September 15, @04:21PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the who-would-have-guessed? dept.

Sleep apnea patients at greater risk of developing COVID-19 complications, study finds:

Researchers at the University of Warwick conducted a systematic review of studies that looked at COVID-19 patients and found that those who also had sleep apnea were at a higher risk of developing serious complications and dying.

"It is likely that COVID-19 increases oxidative stress and inflammation and has effects on the bradykinin pathways, all of which are also affected in obstructive sleep apnea patients," lead author Dr. Michelle Miller said in a press release.

"When you have individuals in which these mechanisms are already affected, it wouldn't be surprising that COVID-19 affects them more strongly," she added.

[...] While there are limited studies on the link between the nasal condition and the novel coronavirus, researchers say many of the risk factors associated with sleep apnea, such as diabetes, obesity and hypertension, are similar to those associated with poorer COVID-19 outcomes.

The findings were published Monday in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews.

[...] The study acknowledged that more research is still needed to determine whether individuals with obstructive sleep apnea should be added to the list of vulnerable groups.

"Hospitals and doctors should also be recording whether their patients have obstructive sleep apnea as a potential risk factor, and it should be included in studies and outcomes data for COVID-19. We need more data to determine whether this is something we should be more concerned about," she said.

Journal Reference:
Michelle A. Miller PhD, Francesco P. Cappuccio. A systematic review of COVID-19 and obstructive sleep apnoea, Sleep Medicine Reviews (DOI: 10.1016/j.smrv.2020.101382)

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday September 15, @02:12PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the lock-up-your-buckets dept.

Online marketing company exposes 38+ million US citizen records:

The CyberNews research team discovered an unsecured data bucket that belongs to View Media, an online marketing company. The bucket contains close to 39 million US user records, including their full names, email and street addresses, phone numbers and ZIP codes.

The database was left on a publicly accessible Amazon Web Services (AWS) server, allowing anyone to access and download the data. Following the 350 million email leak covered by CyberNews earlier in August, this is the second time this summer we encountered an unsecured Amazon bucket containing such massive amounts of user data.

On July 29, the exposed View Media bucket was closed by Amazon and is no longer accessible.

[...] The unsecured Amazon S3 bucket appears to belong to View Media, an online marketing company that specializes in email marketing, display advertising, design, hosting, direct mails, date sales, and other digital marketing services. The company offers targeted marketing services to American publishing brands like Tribune Media and Times Media Group.

Apart from millions of user records, the bucket also contains thousands of marketing newsletters, promotional flyer designs, banner ads, and statement of work documents created by View Media for its clients.

[...] Because we were initially unable to identify the owner of the unsecured bucket, we contacted Amazon on July 27 to help them secure the database. They were able to close the bucket on July 29.

We then reached out to one of the marketing company's clients mentioned in the statement of work documents that were stored on the bucket, who helped us identify View Media as the owner of the database on August 21. On August 24, we contacted View Media for an official comment regarding the leak. However, we received no response from the company.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday September 15, @12:03PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the go-to-bed dept.

Insomnia identified as a new risk factor for type 2 diabetes in new study which also confirms many other risk and protective factors:

A new 'global atlas' study published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes [EASD]) is the first to identify insomnia as a risk factor associated with increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D). The study identifies 34 risk factors that are thought to increase (19) or decrease risk (15), as well as a further 21 'suggestive' risk factors where evidence was not quite as strong.

[...] They found evidence of causal associations between 34 exposures (19 risk factors and 15 protective factors) and T2D. Insomnia was identified as a novel risk factor, with people with insomnia being 17% more likely to develop T2D than those without.

[...] The authors conclude: "Our study confirmed several previously established risk factors and identified novel potential risk factors for type 2 diabetes using the latest summary-level data. Findings should inform public health policies for the primary prevention of type 2 diabetes. Prevention strategies should be constructed from multiple perspectives, such as lowering obesity and smoking rates and levels, and improving mental health, sleep quality, educational level and birthweight."

Journal Reference:
Shuai Yuan, Susanna C. Larsson. An atlas on risk factors for type 2 diabetes: a wide-angled Mendelian randomisation study [open], Diabetologia (DOI: 10.1007/s00125-020-05253-x)

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday September 15, @09:54AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

China says Mars probe stable; no word on reusable spacecraft:

China's Mars probe Tianwen-1, which blasted into space in July, is now more than 15 million kilometers (9 million miles) from Earth en route to the red planet, the National Space Administration said Saturday.

The administration said that Tianwen-1 was in stable condition, having completed its first mid-course orbital correction early last month. It will be about 195 million kilometers (118 million miles) from Earth when it arrives at Mars around February, having traveled 470 million kilometers (292 million miles) in all to get there.

[...] The spacecraft consists of an orbiter, a lander and a rover, and marks China's most ambitious Mars mission yet as it seeks to join the United States in successfully landing a spacecraft on the planet. It was blasted into space aboard a Long March-5 on July 23 during a month when the United Arab Emirates and the U.S. also took advantage of a shortened distance between the planets to launch similar missions.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday September 15, @07:45AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the speedy-recovery dept.

AT&T's current 5G is slower than 4G in nearly every city tested by PCMag;:

AT&T smartphone users who see their network indicators switch from "4G" to "5G" shouldn't necessarily expect that they're about to get faster speeds. In PCMag's annual mobile-network testing, released today, 5G phones connected to AT&T got slower speeds than 4G phones in 21 out of 22 cities.

PCMag concluded that "AT&T 5G right now appears to be essentially worthless," though AT&T's average download speed of 103.1Mbps was nearly as good as Verizon's thanks to a strong 4G performance. Of course, AT&T 5G should be faster than 4G in the long run—this isn't another case of AT&T misleadingly labeling its 4G network as a type of 5G. Instead, the disappointing result on PCMag's test has to do with how today's 5G phones work and with how AT&T allocates spectrum.

The counterintuitive result doesn't reveal much about the actual differences between 4G and 5G technology. Instead, it's reflective of how AT&T has used its spectrum to deploy 5G so far. As PCMag explained, "AT&T's 5G slices off a narrow bit of the old 850MHz cellular band and assigns it to 5G, to give phones a valid 5G icon without increasing performance. And because of the way current 5G phones work, it often reduces performance."

AT&T's 4G network benefits from the aggregation of channels from different frequencies. "The most recent phones are able to assemble up to seven of them—that's called seven-carrier aggregation, and it's why AT&T won [the PCMag tests] last year," the article said.

5G phones can't handle that yet, PCMag analyst Sascha Segan wrote:

But 5G phones can't add as many 4G channels to a 5G channel. So if they're in 5G mode, they're giving up 4G channels so they can use that extremely narrow, often 5MHz 5G channel, and the result is slower performance: faux G. For AT&T, using a 5G phone in testing was often a step backward from our 4G-only phone.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday September 15, @05:36AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the privacy dept.

In August, security researcher Volodymyr Diachenko discovered a misconfigured Elasticsearch cluster, owned by gaming hardware vendor Razer, exposing customers' PII (Personal Identifiable Information).

The cluster contained records of customer orders and included information such as item purchased, customer email, customer (physical) address, phone number, and so forth—basically, everything you'd expect to see from a credit card transaction, although not the credit card numbers themselves. The Elasticseach cluster was not only exposed to the public, it was indexed by public search engines.

Link to the tweet from the security researcher.

[...] One of the things Razer is well-known for—aside from their hardware itself—is requiring a cloud login for just about anything related to that hardware.

[...] Over the last year, Razer awarded a single HackerOne user, s3cr3tsdn, 28 separate bounties.

We applaud Razer for offering and paying bug bounties, of course, but it's difficult to forget that those vulnerabilities wouldn't have been there (and globally exploitable), if Razer hadn't tied their device functionality so thoroughly to the cloud in the first place.

Reap those cloud benefits.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday September 15, @03:27AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the whistling-into-hurricanes dept.

Console options without disc drives could be GameStop’s final death knell:

The latest quarterly earnings report from GameStop doesn't show much sign of a turnaround for the long-troubled game retailer. Sales were down 26.7 percent year over year for the April through June quarter. Even accounting for permanent store closures and COVID-related reduced operating hours, so-called comparable "same-store" sales were still down 12.7 percent year over year. GameStop's already depressed stock is down nearly 8 percent on the news, as of this writing.

GameStop still publicly sees an "opportunity to capitalize" on the upcoming release of new Sony and Microsoft consoles, which could help turn its business around in the short term. But there's some reason to believe the coming generation of consoles could actually make GameStop's long-term prospects worse, thanks to console options that get rid of disc drives entirely.

[...] In an earnings call, GameStop CEO George Sherman acknowledged that "there has been growth in digitally downloaded games" and said GameStop is "not debating the growth of digital gaming." But he also tried to put a positive spin on the fate of GameStop's physical game sales going into the next generation of consoles.

"First, new consoles have a disc drive," Sherman said. "So for the next seven years, the consoles will play both the physical and digital software that we sell."

That's only partially true, though. Both the Xbox Series S and the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition actually won't have a disc drive. And while GameStop does sell some digital software, the bulk of its business comes from the sale of new physical games and high-margin pre-owned games.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday September 15, @01:17AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the wretched-hive-of-... dept.

Price gouging and defective products rampant on Amazon, reports find:

New reports released this week serve as a cautionary tale for consumers who shop at Amazon, by far the largest online retailer in the US. While complaints about Amazon's third-party vendor marketplace are by now commonplace, the new reports find that not only did Amazon itself price-gouge customers during the height of the pandemic, but also that many of its white-label, Amazon-branded products are just as likely to be dangerously defective as third-party goods.

Product shortages—both for pandemic-related supplies such as masks and sanitizer and also for basic household goods such as toilet paper—hit nationwide in February, March, and April as the country shut down and everyone who could holed up at home. As tends to happen when demand skyrockets but supply doesn't, prices on a wide range of items went up. And up. And then up some more.

By March, regulators were desperately trying to stem the tide of price gouging flooding online retailers, especially Amazon's sprawling third-party Marketplace.

[...] A new report from consumer watchdog group Public Citizen, however, finds that price-gouging for some critical goods was just as prevalent in Amazon's own first-party sales as it was in its vendor marketplace.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday September 14, @11:04PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the check-for-verrrry-long-stilts dept.

Life on Venus? Unexplained discovery in the clouds has scientists buzzing:

Something unexpected has been discovered in the cloud decks of our nearest planetary neighbor, Venus. While no one is saying it's aliens just yet, some sort of alien microorganism is on the list of potential explanations for why a chemical that shouldn't be floating around above the planet has been observed there for the first time.

The chemical is phosphine, or PH3, a compound made up of phosphorus attached to three hydrogen atoms. On Earth, certain microbes that thrive in oxygen-free environments, like at a sewage plant, are believed to produce the chemical. The gas is highly toxic to humans and smells like decaying fish.

It was identified in observations of Venus made with telescopes in Hawaii and Chile in 2017 and 2019. Specifically, phosphine was found about 33 to 39 miles (53 to 62 kilometers) above the surface of Venus, a world that is known for being brutally inhospitable, with both extremely hot temperatures and crushing pressures.

[...] Interestingly, however, the altitude where the phosphine was detected is one of the more hospitable areas in the solar system beyond Earth, with temperatures and pressure comparable to the surface of our planet. There is still the problem of the sulfuric acid clouds, however, which would certainly be hostile to much of the life we know, and should also destroy phosphine.

"These are conditions not exactly welcoming to life as we know it," says Brendan Burns, an astrobiologist at the University of New South Wales, Australia.

A team led by Jane Greaves from Cardiff University and the University of Cambridge in the UK lays out the discovery in a paper published Monday in Nature Astronomy. They sought to explain the mysterious presence of PH3 in the clouds, considering various atmospheric, chemical and geological processes. Lightning, volcanoes, the solar wind and even meteors were investigated as possible sources, but none fits the observations.

"If no known chemical process can explain PH3 within the upper atmosphere of Venus, then it must be produced by a process not previously considered plausible for Venusian conditions," the paper reads. "This could be unknown photochemistry or geochemistry, or possibly life."

The scientists go on to "emphasize that the detection of PH3 is not robust evidence for life, only for anomalous and unexplained chemistry."

Also at: cnet, ScienceMag, TechnologyReview, and

Journal Reference:
Jane S. Greaves, Anita M. S. Richards, William Bains, et al. Phosphine gas in the cloud decks of Venus, Nature Astronomy (DOI: 10.1038/s41550-020-1174-4)

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday September 14, @08:55PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the shiny! dept.

Earth’s rarest diamonds form from primordial carbon in the mantle:

Most diamonds are made of carbon recycled over and over again between Earth’s surface and its crust. But diamonds with the deepest origins — such as the famed Hope Diamond[*] — are made of carbon from a separate source: a newly discovered, ancient reservoir hidden in Earth’s lower mantle, scientists report Sept. 10 in Nature.

Chemical clues within these superdeep diamonds suggest that there’s a previously unknown limit to how deep Earth’s carbon cycle goes. Understanding this part of the carbon cycle — how and where carbon moves in and out of the planet’s interior — can help scientists understand changes to the planet’s climate over eons, the researchers say.

Diamonds form at different depths before making their way to the surface where they are unearthed. “Most of the diamonds people are familiar with are from the upper 250 kilometers of the planet,” says Margo Regier, a geochemist at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. “Superdeep” diamonds are from at least 250 kilometers underground, and “they’re really quite rare,” Regier says. But rarest of all are diamonds that form as far as 700 kilometers down, within the lower mantle.

[...] The chemical makeup of diamonds from deeper than 660 kilometers was markedly different from that of the shallower diamonds. Those “form in a different way, from carbon already stored within the mantle,” Regier says. “The very deepest samples must have been [made of] primordial carbon that never escaped from the planet.”

The finding also suggests a limit to how deeply carbon from the surface can be buried within the planet’s interior. One implication of this, Regier says, is that it calls into question whether subduction was able to bury carbon deeply and for long enough to be a driving force behind the Great Oxidation Event.

[*] Wikipedia entry for the Hope Diamond.

Journal Reference:
M. E. Regier, D. G. Pearson, T. Stachel, et al. The lithospheric-to-lower-mantle carbon cycle recorded in superdeep diamonds, Nature (DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2676-z)

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday September 14, @06:45PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the bare-metal-hype dept.

AMD Zen 3, Ryzen 4000 Release Date, Specifications, Performance, All We Know:

Aside from an AMD presentation about the Zen 3 architecture that was accidentally posted to YouTube, the company hasn't publicly shared specifics about the design. However, the company has shared plenty of information about Zen 3's schedule, and a string of leaks has shed further light on the soon-to-be-released architecture. And we'll learn the first in-depth details of the new Zen 3 chips on 10/8/2020 at 10am PT.

[...] AMD Zen 3, Ryzen 4000 At A Glance

  • TSMC N7P or N7+ process
  • 32+ MB of unified L3 cache
  • Multi-Chip Module (MCM) design
  • Up to 64 cores for data center chips
  • AMD will announce details about Zen 3 and Ryzen 4000 on 10/8/2020
  • First client (desktop and/or laptop) chips arrive in late 2020
  • EPYC Milan data center chips arrive in late 2020
  • Full desktop, laptop and server Zen 3 lineups in market by the end of 2021
  • Pricing is the wild card, but AMD has increased pricing with recent launches

[...] AMD has consistently swatted away rumors that its Zen 3 chips are delayed and has clarified that its chips wouldn't use TSMC's 5nm process. AMD has long maintained that it's Zen 3 chips would come to market this year, which makes sense given the Zen 3 EPYC Milan data center chips on the roadmap. The company later clarified that Zen 3 "client" chips would also come to market this year. That's an important distinction, with the term "client" signifying that we'll see chips for regular consumers this year, too.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Monday September 14, @04:34PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the deep-thinking dept.

No One Knows What Lurks at the Bottom of This Freakishly Deep Submerged Cave:

New research suggests Hranice Abyss—the world's deepest freshwater cave—is around 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) deep, which is more than twice the depth of previous estimates.

Back in 2016, scientists measured the depth of Hranice Abyss at 1,552 feet (473 meters), but they suspected it was deeper because their remotely operated vehicle had reached the end of its fiber-optic communication cable. Now, using multiple geophysical imaging techniques, a research team led by Radek Klanica from the Czech Academy of Sciences has established a new estimated depth for Hranice Abyss. A paper describing this research was recently published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface.

[...] Geologist Francesco Sauro from the University of Bologna, who wasn't involved in the new study, told Science that the newly derived depth of the abyss is "impressive" and that the new paper is "a good example of how you should do things." Similar processes could've formed other submerged caves, some of which could even be deeper, he said. As for what types of organisms might exist at the bottom of the cave, Sauro said: "We don't know exactly what could be down there."

Journal Reference:
Radek Klanica, Jaroslav Kadlec, Petr Tábořík, et al. Hypogenic Versus Epigenic Origin of Deep Underwater Caves Illustrated by the Hranice Abyss (Czech Republic), Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface (DOI: 10.1029/2020JF005663)

Original Submission