2020-07-01 00:00:00 ..
2020-11-23 01:37:00 UTC --Fnord666
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Firefox 83 also ships with an option for an HTTPS-only mode whereby every Firefox connection aims to be secure and will warn the user should HTTPS not be supported.
Mozilla and the Linux Foundation are jointly announcing this morning that the Servo web engine development will now be hosted by the Linux Foundation.
The Rust-written code-base that's served as a long in development "next-gen" web engine at Mozilla will now be developed under the Linux Foundation umbrella. Besides Mozilla, this move has the support of other industry stakeholders like Samsung and Let's Encrypt.
See also: Firefox 84 Beta Begins Enabling WebRender By Default On Linux
Chrome 87 Released With More Performance Improvements
Google Is Already Experimenting With WebP2 As Successor To WebP Image Format
Mechanoluminescence, also known as triboluminescence, is the production of light as the result of mechanical action taken on a solid, such as by squeezing or bending it. It was first discovered in 1605 by Sir Francis Bacon when he saw light given off as he was scraping a lump of sugar with a knife (and you may have seen it yourself if you've seen the green spark given off when biting into a Wint-O-Green Lifesaver in the dark). If you stress a solid elastically, meaning that it recovers its original shape when you remove the stress, and it gives off light, this is known as elasto-mechanoluminescence. There are very few materials known with this behavior and they are a topic of interest because there are some useful things one could imagine making with such a material, such as visual stress sensors and other specialty lighting.
Researchers in France found that a certain kind of glass containing mechanoluminescent crystalline particles not only gives off light when subject to mechanical stress, but it behaves in a manner suggestive of a photonic sponge. If the glass is initially charged with exposure to UV light, it emits green light as a stress is applied to it. When the applied pressure stops changing and reaches a steady-state, the light disappears. The authors call this a photonic sponge because it is analogous to after one fills a sponge with water, the water only comes out while you are squeezing it to wring it out. What was also surprising in their results was that as they removed the stress, additional light was emitted as the stress was released. The total amount of light emitted didn't depend upon the total static force applied, but rather on the change in the force, known as the deviatoric part of the stress. They used a Li,Na metaphosphate glass embedded with SrAl2O4 particles. Provided with the paper is a video showing the experiment in action.
Dubernet, M., Bruyer, E., Gueguen, Y. et al. Mechanics and physics of a glass/particles photonic sponge. Sci Rep 10, 19495 (2020). (DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-75504-9)
Teslas are now more expensive to recharge than it is to fuel an equivalent petrol-powered car – at least if you're using the Tesla Supercharger network.
A recent price increase to use the fast-charging Tesla Superchargers and incorrect fuel figures on the Tesla website mean claims that recharging using a Supercharger is "less than the cost of petrol" are incorrect.
[...] While EVs have always cost more than their rival internal combustion engine cars, the promise of lower running costs has been a key part of the appeal.
Tesla used its Supercharging network as a lure for buyers, particularly in the early days after the brand arrived in Australia, in many cases offering free charging.
But those purchasing the more affordable Model 3 – believed to be the top-selling EV in Australia - are forced to pay the full 52c/kWh, making Supercharging more costly than refuelling with premium unleaded.
[...] He says most EV drivers will use home charging or destination chargers – including at shopping centres and in public areas – which are much cheaper or free.
"EVs are cheaper to run because you can locally charge them at home and you can use solar."
Most Tesla destination chargers are also free and many households only pay 25-30c/kWh for electricity, making it much cheaper to recharge at home. Off-peak rates can be half that.
But it doesn't excuse the blatantly incorrect figures on the Tesla website in claiming Supercharging is cheaper than paying for petrol.
Tesla has not provided a comment.
Ed Note - The analysis in the article is based on a particular use case and is tied to local pricing for petrol and electricity. As the article points out, owners are going to charge at home most of the time. This bring me to a different question though. What is the "average" price in your location for petrol per liter/gallon and electricity per kWh? --Fnord666
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft that launched from Florida's Kennedy Space Center with four astronauts on board Sunday night safely docked with the International Space Station around 11 p.m. ET Monday.
The spacecraft glided toward the station, closing the gap before latching onto a port on the ISS's center module. The event appeared to be a slow burn to those watching NASA's livestream, but that's because the spacecraft and the ISS were traveling at roughly the same speed — more than 17,000 miles per hour, the speed necessary to keep objects orbiting the Earth.
[...] The safe docking marks the end of the first leg of a landmark mission for NASA and SpaceX, which have been working together for a decade to return human spaceflight capabilities to the United States and ensure the multibillion-dollar ISS stays fully staffed.
[...] This also marks the first fully operational crewed mission for SpaceX, following up a test mission in May that carried NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken, both test pilots, to the space station for a brief stay.
[...] The Crew-1 astronauts are expected to spend about six months on board the ISS, where they'll work on a variety of science experiments and conduct space walks to continue updates and repairs on the space station's exterior.
Before returning home, they'll be joined by yet another group of astronauts on a mission dubbed Crew-2 that's due to launch in the spring.
Given that everything in the universe reduces to particles, a question presents itself: What are particles?
The easy answer quickly shows itself to be unsatisfying. Namely, electrons, photons, quarks and other "fundamental" particles supposedly lack substructure or physical extent. "We basically think of a particle as a pointlike object," said Mary Gaillard, a particle theorist at the University of California, Berkeley who predicted the masses of two types of quarks in the 1970s. And yet particles have distinct traits, such as charge and mass. How can a dimensionless point bear weight?
"We say they are 'fundamental,'" said Xiao-Gang Wen, a theoretical physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "But that's just a [way to say] to students, 'Don't ask! I don't know the answer. It's fundamental; don't ask anymore.'"
It's a good "average Joe" explanation of our current understanding of what a particle is in a non-mathematical way.
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are cylindrical tubes made up of very thin walls of carbon atoms. They are what you get if you roll up a sheet of graphene. They come in single walled (SWCNT) and multi-walled (MWCNT) versions, and they have some very remarkable physical and electrical properties. Despite popping up from time-to-time as early has the late 19th Century, they exploded on the science scene in the early 1990s as an area of very active research.
However, if one looks back into antiquity at the famed swords of Damascus, they were made from Damascus steel. This steel was recognized to be superior to all others, but the art of its manufacture was lost to time for hundreds of years; however, in 2006 an analysis of an ancient sabre was found to contain CNTs in the steel.
A group of researchers from India have now pushed the appearance of CNTs back even further. They were studying black polished pottery shards from a dig site in Keeladi that could be as old as 600 BCE and they determined that the black coating consists of CNTs and graphene.
At this moment, the source of carbon for the coating remains unknown. The C1s x-ray photoelectron spectrum indicates the presence of several functional groups such as carbonyl, ether, carboxyl, and alcohol indicating vegetal source might have been used as a source of carbon during the manufacturing of potteries to form the black coating. Iron observed in the sample might have originated from the vegetal source itself or the soil. So the more scientific possibility would be the plant-based material should have been carbonized, forming different carbon allotropes at high temperature achieved during the firing process of pottery. The presence of iron in the plant source and also the soil might have catalysed the carbon to form SWCNT and MWCNT. High temperature present in the firing process of pottery making might have favoured the formation of observed nano structures.
They noted that, perhaps as a testament to the structural integrity of CNTs, despite being over 2000 years old these surfaces were still smooth and black with little degradation and did not suffer mechanical nor chemical breakdown.
Manivannan Kokarneswaran, Prakash Selvaraj, Thennarasan Ashokan, et al. Discovery of carbon nanotubes in sixth century BC potteries from Keeladi, India [open], Scientific Reports (DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-76720-z)
What do a small business that sell socks packaged by homeless youth and a start-up that makes bracelets from life vests once worn by refugees have to do with the spread of misinformation during the presidential election season?
Nothing, thought the entrepreneurs who started them, until Facebook notified them that their ads had been pulled because they fell into a category of "social issues, elections or politics" that were being blocked by the site.
The social media giant announced last week that it was extending a ban imposed on certain ads during the election to prevent the dissemination of false information. The prohibition has ensnared a number of socially driven businesses with no direct connection to partisan politics.
Companies connected to issues like hunger, the environment and immigration, many of which rely heavily on social media to draw customers to their websites, have seen their access abruptly cut off.
"We're just selling socks and trying to do a good thing," said Sam Harper, 27, co-founder of Hippy Feet, a company in Minneapolis that employs homeless youth. "We are not trying to advance any particular agenda around homelessness and unemployment."
[...] "Facebook is thinking of the political campaigns, and we are collateral damage in the process," Mr. Harper said.
The entrepreneurs say they do not begrudge Facebook for barring falsehoods and misleading content. But they contend that it is unfair that their do-good businesses are being lumped in with politically motivated advertisers. With the crucial holiday season fast approaching, some fear that the ban, extended on Nov. 11 for another month, could spell their demise.
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
The solar system is a busy place—in addition to the familiar large bodies, there is an uncountably large number of rocky asteroids and icy comets. These mostly stay put in their orbits far from Earth, but many also roam around the solar system. As they do, they shed material due to collisions, deformations or heating. Due to this, the Earth is surrounded by small particles we call interplanetary dust. By investigating the size and composition of the interplanetary dust, astronomers can indirectly investigate the activity and makeup of the parent bodies.
[...] Ground-based radar is very good at detecting the motion of meteors, but it does not reveal much information about the mass or composition of the meteors. Optical telescopes and sensors can infer those details based on the light given off by falling meteors due to interaction with the atmosphere. However, telescopes have a limited field of view and until recently lacked the sensitivity to see faint meteors at all. [Astronomer Ryou] Ohsawa and his team wished to imbue radar observatories with the powers of optical ones. After a few years, they have finally succeeded.
"We thought that if you could observe enough meteors simultaneously with both radar and optical facilities, details of the meteors in the optical data may correspond to previously unseen patterns in the radar data too," said Ohsawa. "I am pleased to report this is in fact the case. We recorded hundreds of events over several years and have now gained the ability to read information about meteor mass from subtle signals in radar data."
Ryou Ohsawa, et al. Relationship between radar cross section and optical magnitude based on radar and optical simultaneous observations of faint meteors, Planetary and Space Science (DOI: 10.1016/j.pss.2020.105011)
The first cable slipped out of its socket on Aug. 10 at 2:45 a.m. local time. On its way down, it damaged observation facilities suspended above the dish, as well as gouging a 100-foot-long (30 meters) "gash" in the fragile dish, according to a statement from the University of Central Florida, which operates the facility.
The situation became much more dire on Nov. 6 at 7:39 p.m., when a second cable — this time, one of the primary cables — snapped, compromising the structural integrity of the 900-ton (800,000 kilograms) platform that looms over the dish, holding the facility's antennas and scientific instruments.
"Time right now is critical," [Abel] Mendez told Space.com. "I'm totally scared of what's happening at the observatory now. I am so worried about it."
Evaluating the situation is also difficult, since reaching the suspended platform and the towers that anchor its supporting cables is dangerous. "When you have access to the towers, when you have access to the platform, there's a million ways you can remove a failed cable, hoist a new cable, things like that," [Francisco] Cordova said. "When you can't access the attachment points for these cables, then that becomes a big challenge."
[...] The observatory has put together a suite of options for stabilizing the situation and is waiting for a decision from the National Science Foundation, which owns the facility, about how to proceed. "Hopefully in the next couple days, we'll have that decision," Cordova said.
A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in China has found that coating titanium bone implants with a thin film of Lactobacillus casei before implantation promoted healing and reduced infection risk in rats.
[...] In this new effort, the researchers wondered if coating the implant with a known antibacterial agent might reduce the chances of infection after bone surgery. To find out, they broke the tibias of test rats and then repaired them using standard bone implant techniques; in the experiment, half of the implants were first coated with a L. casei biofilm.
[...] They found that the rats that had received the coated implants had higher rates of bone growth than did those that had received uncoated implants (27% versus 16%). They then repeated the experiment but added a second coating of MRSA bacteria to the implants. They found that the L. casei biofilm prevented 99.9 percent of infections.
Lei Tan, Jieni Fu, Fan Feng, et al. Engineered probiotics biofilm enhances osseointegration via immunoregulation and anti-infection [open], Science Advances (DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba5723)
If you're still using Adobe's Flash Player, you've got 55 more days until Mozilla fully banishes it from Firefox. Firefox 83, released Tuesday, is the penultimate version of the web browser that will run Flash software, and Firefox 85 will completely disable it when it arrives on Jan. 12, 2021.
Flash expanded browser abilities with features like streaming video and gaming graphics that boosted the abilities of the web more than a decade ago. But security risks and other problems led browser makers to bypass Flash by expanding the web's built-in abilities.
[...] The timing of Mozilla's move, years after Flash's fate was sealed, shows how hard it is to uproot widely used technology. Windows XP and Internet Explorer 6 persisted long after Microsoft wanted to move on, too. Some technologies, like mainframe computers and vinyl records, have survived obsolescence, but not Flash.
It's called Fleets, and will allow users to post messages that vanish after 24 hours.
On Tuesday, Twitter said it would introduce a feature called Fleets, allowing users to post ephemeral photos or text that will automatically disappear after 24 hours. Fleets, a name that refers to the "fleeting" nature of a thought or expression, will roll out to all iPhone and Android users globally over the coming days, the company said.
Twitter said its main "global town square" service, which people such as President Trump use to broadcast their thoughts to followers, remained its marquee product. But the company said it recognized that many users simply lurked on the platform and rarely posted. Fleets, it said, could make it easier for people to communicate without worrying about wider scrutiny of their posts.
"We've learned that some people feel more comfortable joining conversations on Twitter with this ephemeral format, so what they're saying lives just for a moment in time," said Joshua Harris, a Twitter director of design. "We can create a space with less pressure that allows people to express themselves in a way that feels a bit more safe."
Facebook released Vanish Mode on Messenger as well as Instagram. While it is currently available on Messenger in the US and a few more countries, the feature is going to soon arrive on Instagram. Introducing the latest feature in a blog, Bridget Pujals, Messenger Product Manager and Manik Singh, who is Instagram's Product Manager said that the vanish mode will let users share something silly or embarrassing and then immediately forget about it by vanishing the entire chat.
Although it will not hide messages sent by mistake, it can come in handy when you want your message to be not forwarded ahead or discussed forever. These vanished messages will not exist in your chat history.
The next Windows PC you buy could come with an advanced security co-processor that will protect your data from being stolen by hackers. Building on work it started with the Xbox One, on Tuesday Microsoft announced the existence of Pluton. It's a new project the company is working on with both AMD and Intel, as well as Qualcomm, to create x86 and ARM CPUs that integrate a dedicated security component.
At its simplest, Pluton is an evolution of the existing Trusted Platform Module (TPM) you find in many modern computers.
[...] That's where Pluton comes into the picture. By integrating the TPM into the CPU, Microsoft says it's able to close off that avenue of attack.
[...] Since Microsoft is hardening the security of your Windows PC through a new hardware component, you won't get the benefit of Pluton unless you buy a new chip. As things stand, Microsoft hasn't said when people will be able to buy Pluton-equipped CPUs, and it may take a while before they become available.
In a first for the Pentagon's push to develop defenses against intercontinental-range ballistic missiles capable of striking the United States, a missile interceptor launched from a U.S. Navy ship at sea hit and destroyed a mock ICBM in flight Tuesday, officials said.
Previous tests against ICBM targets had used interceptors launched from underground silos in the U.S. If further, more challenging tests prove successful, the ship-based approach could add to the credibility and reliability of the Pentagon's existing missile-defense system.
The success of Tuesday's test is likely to draw particular interest from North Korea, whose development of ICBMs and nuclear weapons is the main reason the Pentagon has sought to accelerate its building of missile-defense systems over the past decade.
Moderna Inc's experimental vaccine is 94.5% effective in preventing COVID-19 based on interim data from a late-stage trial, the company said on Monday, becoming the second U.S. drugmaker to report results that far exceed expectations.
Together with Pfizer Inc's vaccine, which is also more than 90% effective, and pending more safety data and regulatory review, the United States could have two vaccines authorized for emergency use in December with as many as 60 million doses of vaccine available this year.
The vaccines, both developed with new technology known as messenger RNA (mRNA), represent powerful tools to fight a pandemic that has infected 54 million people worldwide and killed 1.3 million.
Unlike Pfizer's vaccine, Moderna's shot can be stored at normal fridge temperatures, which should make it easier to distribute, a critical factor as COVID-19 cases are soaring, hitting new records in the United States and pushing some European countries back into lockdowns.
[...] Moderna expects the vaccine to be stable at normal fridge temperatures of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius (36 to 48°F) for 30 days and it can be stored for up to 6 months at -20C.
Pfizer's vaccine must be shipped and stored at -70C, the sort of temperature typical of an Antarctic winter. It can be stored for up to five days at standard refrigerator temperatures, or for up to 15 days in a thermal shipping box.
The data from Moderna's trial involving 30,000 volunteers also showed the vaccine prevented cases of severe COVID-19, a question that still remains with the Pfizer vaccine. Of the 95 cases in Moderna's trial, 11 were severe and all 11 occurred among volunteers who got the placebo.