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Funding Goal
For 6-month period:
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29.9%

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2020-07-01 00:00:00 ..
2020-10-22 12:45:32 (SPIDs: [1408..1449])
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When consuming a book, I prefer it to be published in which format?

  • physical book, hardback
  • physical book, paperback
  • ebook, preferably DRM free
  • ebook, DRM'ed, cause DRM excites me in inexplicable ways
  • audiobook
  • kinetically (braille, osmosis, at a relatively high velocity compared to myself...)
  • lightly sauteed in butter and garlic
  • literacy is overrated

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:21 | Votes:43

posted by Fnord666 on Thursday October 15, @11:40PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the looks-more-like-linguini dept.

Death by black hole: Astronomers spot flare from "spaghettification" of star:

The notion of being "spaghettified" after falling into a black hole was popularized in Stephen Hawking's 1988 best-selling book, A Brief History of Time. Hawking envisioned an unfortunate astronaut who passed beyond the event horizon and would find themselves subject to the intense gravitational gradient of the black hole. (The gravitational gradient is the difference in strength of gravity's pull depending on an object's orientation.)

If the astronaut fell in feet first, for example, the pull would be stronger on the feet than the head. The astronaut would be stretched vertically and compressed horizontally by the black hole's tidal forces until they resembled a strand of spaghetti. [...] At least it would be quick; the whole process would occur in less than a second.

[...] these powerful bursts of light are often shrouded behind a curtain of interstellar dust and debris, making it difficult for astronomers to study them in greater detail. This latest event (dubbed AT 2019qiz) was discovered shortly after the star had been shredded last year, making it easier to study in detail, before that curtain of dust and debris had fully formed. Astronomers conducted follow-up observations across the electromagnetic spectrum over the next six months, using multiple telescopes around the world, including the Very Large Telescope (VLT) array and the New Technology Telescope (NTT), both located in Chile.

"Because we caught it early, we could actually see the curtain of dust and debris being drawn up as the black hole launched a powerful outflow of material with velocities up to 10,000 km/s," said co-author Kate Alexander of Northwestern University. "This is a unique 'peek behind the curtain' that provided the first opportunity to pinpoint the origin of the obscuring material and follow in real time how it engulfs the black hole."

According to Berger, these observations provide the first direct evidence that outflowing gas during disruption and accretion produces the powerful optical and radio emissions previously observed. "Until now, the nature of these emissions has been heavily debated, but here we see that the two regimes are connected through a single process," he said.

YouTube video depicting a star being "eaten" by a black hole.

Journal Reference:
Nicholl, M, Wevers, T, Oates, S R, et al. outflow powers the optical rise of the nearby, fast-evolving tidal disruption event AT2019qiz, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (DOI: 10.1093/mnras/staa2824)


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday October 15, @09:31PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the dividing-up-the-airwaves dept.

SpaceX gets FCC approval to bid in $16 billion rural-broadband auction

SpaceX is one of the 386 entities that have qualified to bid in a federal auction for rural-broadband funding.

SpaceX has so far overcome the Federal Communications Commission's doubts about whether Starlink, its low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite service, can provide latency of less than 100ms and thus qualify for the auction's low-latency tier. With the FCC's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) set to distribute up to $16 billion to ISPs, the FCC initially placed SpaceX on the "incomplete application" list, which includes ISPs that had not shown they were qualified to bid in their desired performance and latency tiers. The FCC also said that LEO providers "will face a substantial challenge" obtaining approval to bid in the low-latency tier because they must "demonstrat[e] to Commission staff that their networks can deliver real-world performance to consumers below the Commission's 100ms low-latency threshold."

[...] SpaceX's Starlink service is in a limited beta and appears to be providing latencies well under the 100ms threshold. SpaceX still isn't guaranteed to get FCC funding. After the auction, winning bidders will have to submit "long-form" applications with more detail on how they will meet deployment requirements in order to get the final approval for funding.

The $16 billion available in the auction will be distributed to ISPs over ten years, paying all winning bidders combined up to $1.6 billion a year to deploy broadband in specified areas. SpaceX satellite service could theoretically be made available anywhere and doesn't require wiring up individual homes, so this funding won't necessarily expand the areas of availability for Starlink. But satellite operators can use FCC funding as subsidies allowing them to charge lower prices in areas that lack modern broadband access.

[...] The $16 billion in funding will be directed to census blocks where no provider reports offering home-Internet speeds of at least 25Mbps downstream and 3Mbps upstream. The list of approved census blocks contains 5.3 million unserved homes and businesses.

See also: SpaceX, Hughes and Viasat qualify to bid for $20.4 billion in FCC rural broadband subsidies

Previously: Ajit Pai Caves to SpaceX but is Still Skeptical of Musk's Latency Claims
SpaceX Starlink Speeds Revealed as Beta Users Get Downloads of 11 to 60Mbps
SpaceX Seeks FCC Broadband Funds, Must Prove It Can Deliver Sub-100ms Latency


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday October 15, @07:22PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the no-rinds-were-harmed-in-the-making-of-this-jawbone dept.

Scientists Synthesize Jawbones From Pig Fat (archive)

In patients with congenital defects or who have suffered accidental injuries, the jawbone is nearly impossible to replace. Curved and complex, the bone ends with a joint covered with a layer of cartilage. Both parts must withstand enormous pressures as people chew.

"It is one of the most loaded bones in the human body," said Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, a professor of biomedical engineering, medicine and dental medicine at Columbia University in New York.

In a paper published in Science Translational Medicine [DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abb6683] [DX] on Wednesday, she and her colleagues reported a surprising success: They managed to grow replacement bones, along with their joints, from the stem cells of pigs. A clinical trial will soon begin in patients with severe birth defects.

The researchers say they hope the same sort of technique can someday be used to grow other replacement bones and joints, including knees. Even if the strategy works, however, it will be years before those who need new jawbones or joints can have them engineered from their own cells.

Journal Reference:
David Chen, Josephine Y. Wu, Kelsey M. Kennedy, et al. Tissue engineered autologous cartilage-bone grafts for temporomandibular joint regeneration [$], Science Translational Medicine (DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abb6683)


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday October 15, @05:13PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the will-there-be-snacks? dept.

NASA is awarding 14 companies over $370 million to develop space and lunar exploration technologies. The bulk of the awards concern in-orbit refueling:

With these awards, the space agency is leaning heavily into technologies related to the collection, storage, and transfer of cryogenic propellants in space. Four of the awards, totaling more than $250 million, will go to companies specifically for "cryogenic fluid management" tech demonstrations:

  • Eta Space of Merritt Island, Florida, $27 million. Small-scale flight demonstration of a complete cryogenic oxygen fluid management system. System will be the primary payload on a Rocket Lab Photon satellite and collect critical cryogenic fluid management data in orbit for nine months.
  • Lockheed Martin of Littleton, Colorado, $89.7 million. In-space demonstration mission using liquid hydrogen to test more than a dozen cryogenic fluid management technologies, positioning them for infusion into future space systems.
  • SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, $53.2 million. Large-scale flight demonstration to transfer 10 metric tons of cryogenic propellant, specifically liquid oxygen, between tanks on a Starship vehicle.
  • United Launch Alliance (ULA) of Centennial, Colorado, $86.2 million. Demonstration of a smart propulsion cryogenic system, using liquid oxygen and hydrogen, on a Vulcan Centaur upper stage. The system will test precise tank-pressure control, tank-to-tank transfer, and multiweek propellant storage.

2020 NASA Tipping Point Selections.

Also at Teslarati.


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Thursday October 15, @03:04PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the now-repeat-86-billion-times dept.

How brain-like circuits could push computing power to the next level:

For the first time, my colleagues and I have built a single electronic device that is capable of copying the functions of neuron cells in a brain. We then connected 20 of them together to perform a complicated calculation. This work shows that it is scientifically possible to make an advanced computer that does not rely on transistors to calculate and that uses much less electrical power than today's data centers.

Our research, which I began in 2004, was motivated by two questions. Can we build a single electronic element – the equivalent of a transistor or switch – that performs most of the known functions of neurons in a brain? If so, can we use it as a building block to build useful computers?

[...] It took my colleague Suhas Kumar and others five years of careful exploration to get exactly the right material composition and structure to produce the necessary property predicted from theory.

Kumar then went a major step further and built a circuit with 20 of these elements connected to one another through a network of devices that can be programmed to have particular capacitances, or abilities to store electric charge. He then mapped a mathematical problem to the capacitances in the network, which allowed him to use the device to find the solution to a small version of a problem that is important in a wide range of modern analytics.

[...] The technological challenge now is to scale up our proof-of-principles demonstration to something that can compete against today's digital behemoths.

List of animals by number of neurons

Journal References:
Suhas Kumar, R. Stanley Williams, Ziwen Wang. Third-order nanocircuit elements for neuromorphic engineering, Nature (DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2735-5)
Matthew D. Pickett, Gilberto Medeiros-Ribeiro, R. Stanley Williams. A scalable neuristor built with Mott memristors, Nature Materials (DOI: 10.1038/nmat3510)
Christof J. Schwiening. A brief historical perspective: Hodgkin and Huxley, The Journal of Physiology (DOI: 10.1113/jphysiol.2012.230458)
Leon Chua. Memristor, Hodgkin–Huxley, and Edge of Chaos - IOPscience, Nanotechnology (DOI: 10.1088/0957-4484/24/38/383001)


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Thursday October 15, @12:55PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the starry-night dept.

Scientists Used AI to Create a Hyper Detailed 3D Map of Stars, Galaxies, and Quasars:

A team of astronomers from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa's Institute for Astronomy (IfA) has produced the most comprehensive astronomical imaging catalog of stars, galaxies, and quasars ever created with help from an artificially intelligent neural network.

The group of astronomers from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa's Institute for Astronomy (IfA) released a catalog containing 3 billion celestial objects in 2016, including stars, galaxies, and quasars (the active cores of supermassive black holes). Needless to say, the parsing of this extensive database—packed with 2 petabytes of data—was a task unfit for puny humans, and even grad students. A major goal coming out of the 2016 catalog release was to better characterize these distant specks of light, and to also map the arrangement of galaxies in all three dimensions. The Pan-STARRS team can now check these items off their to-do list, owing to the powers of machine learning. The results of their work have been published to the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Journal Reference:
Beck, Róbert, Szapudi, István, Flewelling, Heather, et al. PS1-STRM: Neural network source classification and photometric redshift catalogue for PS1 3π DR1, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (DOI: 10.1093/mnras/staa2587)


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Thursday October 15, @10:46AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the ♫♪♫under-pressure-♪♫♪ dept.

cracks diamonds

Room-Temperature Superconductivity Achieved for the First Time:

A team of physicists in New York has discovered a material that conducts electricity with perfect efficiency at room temperature — a long-sought scientific milestone. The hydrogen, carbon and sulfur compound operates as a superconductor at up to 59 degrees Fahrenheit, the team reported today in Nature. That's more than 50 degrees hotter than the previous high-temperature superconductivity record set last year.

"This is the first time we can really claim that room-temperature superconductivity has been found," said Ion Errea, a condensed matter theorist at the University of the Basque Country in Spain who was not involved in the work.

"It's clearly a landmark," said Chris Pickard, a materials scientist at the University of Cambridge. "That's a chilly room, maybe a British Victorian cottage," he said of the 59-degree temperature.

Yet while researchers celebrate the achievement, they stress that the newfound compound — created by a team led by Ranga Dias of the University of Rochester — will never find its way into lossless power lines, frictionless high-speed trains, or any of the revolutionary technologies that could become ubiquitous if the fragile quantum effect underlying superconductivity could be maintained in truly ambient conditions. That's because the substance superconducts at room temperature only while being crushed between a pair of diamonds to pressures roughly 75% as extreme as those found in the Earth's core.

"People have talked about room-temperature superconductivity forever," Pickard said. "They may not have quite appreciated that when we did it, we were going to do it at such high pressures."

Materials scientists now face the challenge of discovering a superconductor that operates not only at normal temperatures but under everyday pressures, too. Certain features of the new compound raise hopes that the right blend of atoms could someday be found.

Journal Reference:
Chris J. Pickard, Ion Errea, and Mikhail I. Eremets, Superconducting Hydrides Under Pressure, Annual Review of Condensed Matter Physics (DOI: 10.1146/annurev-conmatphys-031218-013413)


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday October 15, @08:34AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Nobel Peace Prize: UN World Food Programme wins for efforts to combat hunger:

The 2020 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) for its efforts to combat hunger. The Norwegian Nobel Committee said the WFP had acted "as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict". The prize is worth 10m Swedish krona ($1.1m; £872,600).

The winner was announced at the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo. A WFP spokesman said it was a "proud moment". The WFP estimates it helps about 97 million people a year, in 88 countries.

The World Health Organization and climate activist Greta Thunberg were among the favourites for this year's award.

Additional coverage at Livemint and NobelPrize.Org


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday October 15, @06:25AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the fill-'er-up-with...-gas! dept.

https://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/environment/airbus-plans-hydrogenpowered-carbonneutral-planes-by-2035-can-they-work

Airbus is now betting heavily on hydrogen as a fuel of the future. It has just unveiled early plans for three "ZEROe" airliners, each using liquid hydrogen to take the place of today's hydrocarbon-based jet-fuel compounds.

"It is really our intent in 15 years to have an entry into service of a hydrogen-powered airliner," says Amanda Simpson, vice president for research and technology at Airbus Americas. Hydrogen, she says, "has the most energy per unit mass of...well, anything. And because it burns with oxygen to [yield] water, it is entirely environmentally friendly."

But is a hydrogen future realistic for commercial aviation? Is it practical from an engineering, environmental, or economic standpoint? Certainly, people at Airbus say they need to decarbonize, and research on battery technology for electric planes has been disappointing. Meanwhile, China, currently the world's largest producer of carbon dioxide, pledged last month to become carbon neutral by 2060. And 175 countries have signed on to the 2015 Paris agreement to fight global warming.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday October 15, @04:14AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Assholes dept.

Interesting review of a subreddit, wait, no, it's actually fairly good, from a philosophical point of view, over at The Ringer: How "Am I the Asshole?" Created a Medium Place on the Internet. Perhaps all we Soylentils could ask together?

With everything else going on in the world (please see: a pandemic, massive unemployment, the upcoming U.S. election, Karens, police brutality, protests, riots, climate change, and balancing working from home with sending your kids to school), the Reddit forum known as Am I the Asshole? has started to feel like a safe space. It's a place where accountability actually exists, even if only in the form of branding someone right or wrong in one absurd situation. It's also a place for growth: Sometimes posters return to talk about how their lives changed—almost always for the better—because of the advice they got from thousands of anonymous strangers.

[...] The format of the posts has largely remained the same since the beginning. Someone asks a question about an interpersonal conflict, and readers weigh in about whether the poster was in the right or in the wrong and why. But the moderation team has come up with ways to make the subreddit better (or sometimes just more fun).

One of those ways is by adding rules. A subreddit is allowed to have up to 15 rules; since the team added a "No COVID posts" edict earlier this year, AITA now has 14. The most important of those rules is "Be Civil"—without it, AITA might feel like the rest of the internet instead of being a respite from it. The moderators explain that being civil means to "attack ideas, not people" and to "treat others with respect while helping them grow through outside perspectives." It's not often that social media and personal growth go together in the same sentence.

[...] That said, it's not all moral improvement and helpful advice on AITA. Vicious comments have to be removed regularly, and users get suspended or banned every day for breaking rules. Posters often report that they get harassed in private messages, enduring everything from name-calling to death threats. (AITA "doesn't own Reddit," Beaulac says, so while it's something he and the moderators worry about, they also don't have control over anything that goes on outside the forum.) The moderators added an automated message everyone sees before posting, which includes a warning that AITA is a very public forum with millions of readers, that the story could get reported on by the media, and that—despite their efforts—some people don't follow the "Be Civil" rule. Posters get doxxed regularly; the subreddit is just too big for people to be guaranteed that what happens in AITA stays in AITA. The best the moderators feel they can do is warn posters what to expect when telling their stories.

The entire, thought-provoking article runs over 5,000 words and is well worth reading.

[Ed Note - A hat tip to c0lo who also submitted the linked article via IRC.]


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Thursday October 15, @02:05AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the jamming-not-included dept.

U.S. Army to start testing high-tech combat goggles:

Rollout and field-testing of the U.S. Army's new targeting goggles -- called the Integrated Visual Augmentation System -- will begin next week, and they'll be distributed across the branch starting next year.

The do-it-all equipment, nicknamed "Frankengoggle," is designed to simulate the connected world of a fighter pilot in the sight picture of a combat soldier.

With a heads-up display and other technology, it is meant to bring situational awareness, normally found on fighter pilots' goggles, to combat soldiers, Army officials have said.

The system will be unveiled at the Association of the U.S. Army conference next week, and then distributed to 40,000 soldiers across the Army starting in 2021.


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday October 14, @11:56PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the universal-leftovers dept.

Nobel Prize winner says the universe has gone through multiple Big Bangs:

When it comes to how the universe started, science holds that the universe began in what's known as the Big Bang. Many have wondered over the years what the end of the universe will be like. A 2020 Nobel Prize winner in physics named Sir Roger Penrose believes that the universe goes through cycles of death and rebirth.

He believes that there have been multiple Big Bangs and that more will happen. Penrose points to black holes as holding clues to the existence of previous universes.

[...] He calls his theory, "conformal cyclic cosmology." Penrose says he discovered six "warm" sky points known as "Hawking Points" first discovered by the late Prof. Stephen Hawking. Hawking believed that black holes leak radiation and eventually will evaporate. That evaporation could take longer than the current age of the universe, according to the scientist.

Penrose believes that we can observe what he calls dead black holes left by past universes. If he's correct, it would validate some of Hawking's theories. The theory is controversial, and like many theories, it may never be proven to be true or false. If he is right, the universe we know will one day explode, and a new one will come into existence.


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday October 14, @09:47PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the if-only-it-were-facebook dept.

Final Nail in the Coffin for Yahoo Groups Lands Dec. 15

Yahoo Groups will shut down for good on Dec. 15, a year after company parent Verizon decided to gut most of the functionality from the 20-year-old discussion board platform.

Yahoo said supporting the platform "no longer fit" with its long-term strategy, citing low use. At the same time, Yahoo is indicating it's moving away from hosting user-generated content.

"Yahoo Groups has seen a steady decline in usage over the last several years," Yahoo said in a FAQ about the shutdown. "Over that same period, we've witnessed unprecedented levels of engagement across our properties as customers seek out premium, trustworthy content."

"A disaster for the galaxy, Captain. The central brain is damaged. The memory core is burned out. The loss to the galaxy may be irretrievable." -- Spock


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday October 14, @07:38PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the gut-check dept.

Minimally invasive procedure may free Type 2 diabetics from insulin:

A small study suggests that a new procedure that treats part of the intestine just beyond the stomach may allow people with type 2 diabetes to safely stop taking insulin.

The procedure -- which resurfaces the duodenum -- was combined with a popular kind of diabetes medication called GLP-1 receptor agonists -- such as Victoza, Trulicity, Ozempic -- and counseling on lifestyle factors, such as nutrition and physical activity.

Six months after treatments began, three-quarters of participants taking insulin no longer needed it. The amount of fat stored in their livers dropped from 8% to less than 5%.

"The duodenum harbors a broad potential for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and this combination treatment could be a game-changing approach in the treatment of type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome," said lead researcher Dr. Suzanne Meiring, of Amsterdam University Medical Center in the Netherlands.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday October 14, @05:29PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the a-little-too-warm dept.

https://arstechnica.com/cars/2020/10/feds-to-investigate-the-chevrolet-bolt-ev-after-three-fires/

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation of the Chevrolet Bolt EV following several reports of vehicle fires. Specifically, NHTSA says it was contacted by two owners reporting that their Bolt EVs had caught fire while parked and unattended. The agency did some digging and turned up a third instance, and on October 9 it opened a preliminary investigation into the scope, frequency, circumstances, and safety consequences of the fires.

https://www.autoblog.com/2020/10/13/chevrolet-bolt-electric-car-nhtsa-fires-investigation/

Fires were reported in 2017, 2018, and 2019 models, and the three EVs were left with a similar burn pattern on or around the rear seats. The NHTSA published a bulletin that explains the fires seemingly started in the Bolt's battery compartment and spread to the cabin; they didn't start inside the passenger compartment.


Original Submission