2021-01-01 06:28:29 ..
2021-04-07 19:43:02 UTC
2021-04-08 12:51:39 UTC --martyb
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The Air Force confirmed a strong interest in delivery of cargo around the world—by rockets—during an hourlong conference call with reporters on Friday. Military officials said they were elevating the cargo initiative to become the newest "Vanguard Program," indicating a desire to move the concept from an experimental state into an operational capability.
"This idea has been around since the dawn of spaceflight," said Dr. Greg Spanjers, an Air Force scientist and the Rocket Cargo Program Manager. "It's always been an intriguing idea. We've looked at it about every 10 years, but it's never really made sense. The reason we're doing it now is because it looks like technology may have caught up with a good idea."
Ars first reported about the "Rocket Cargo" program in the Air Force's budget request on Monday. As part of its $200 billion annual budget, the Air Force is seeking $47.9 million to leverage emerging commercial rocket capabilities to launch cargo from one location and land elsewhere on Earth.
During Friday's call, the officials explained what they're looking for in more depth. "Fundamentally, a rocket can get around the world in 90 minutes, and an airplane cannot," Spanjers said.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has revealed on Instagram that he plans to fly on Blue Origin's first human spaceflight next month.
"I want to go on this flight because it's a thing I've wanted to do all my life," Bezos, the richest person in the world, said in a post published Monday morning. "It's an adventure. It's a big deal for me."
Bezos said he invited his younger brother, Mark, whom he described as his best friend, to go along. The two brothers will join the winner of an auction for a third seat on the flight, which is set to take place on July 20 of this year. Bidding for this seat is already at $2.8 million but is likely to go higher during a live auction on July 12. Proceeds from this auction will be donated to Blue Origin's foundation, Club for the Future.
[...] Now, Bezos may not be bringing his mom on the first human flight of the vehicle—but he will be bringing a family member. This speaks to the company's, and his, confidence in the safety of New Shepard. After this mission, Blue Origin is expected to begin flying other passengers on future flights later this year. The company has not yet set a public price for tickets inside the capsule, which can carry as many as six people.
As the demand for gadgets and electric cars grows, so too are the mining operations that dig up cobalt to use in lithium-ion batteries.
And that's become a serious problem for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, The New Yorker reports, which sits atop about 3.4 million metric tons of the stuff — half of the entire planet's supply. A massive, gold rush-like mining industry was born after residents in poverty-stricken areas discovered ore deposits under their homes. But now, many are finding that digging up the valuable mineral has failed to lift them out of poverty. And meanwhile, dangerous conditions are killing miners as exposure to the metal is poisoning both people and the environment.
A lack of regulations and enforcement over the mines has resulted in the miners, who risk their health and safety for financial security, being exploited by officials and traders who are unscrupulously lining their own pockets, according to The New Yorker. One miner told the publication that he now struggles to pay his $25 monthly rent even as the value of cobalt continues to soar — and the only alternative was to work at a major corporation's mine for considerably less money.
Meanwhile, thousands of children have been put to work as well, according to The New Yorker, some of whom say they can't remember the last time they could afford a meal. In order to keep them working, the kids are often even drugged with appetite suppressors.
Microsoft Teams is getting better security and privacy next month with the addition of end-to-end encrypted 1:1 voice calls.
While Microsoft Teams already encrypts data at rest and in transit, it allows administrators to configure automatic recording and transcription of voice calls.
Due to this, Microsoft Teams calls are not suitable for sharing very sensitive information that should remain private between two individuals.
Starting in July, Microsoft Teams is getting end-to-end encryption for 1:1 VoIP calls so that their discussions remain entirely private.
Life, for most of us, ends far too soon—hence the effort by biomedical researchers to find ways to delay the aging process and extend our stay on Earth. But there's a paradox at the heart of the science of aging: The vast majority of research focuses on fruit flies, nematode worms and laboratory mice, because they're easy to work with and lots of genetic tools are available. And yet, a major reason that geneticists chose these species in the first place is because they have short lifespans. In effect, we've been learning about longevity from organisms that are the least successful at the game.
Today, a small number of researchers are taking a different approach and studying unusually long-lived creatures—ones that, for whatever evolutionary reasons, have been imbued with lifespans far longer than other creatures they're closely related to. The hope is that by exploring and understanding the genes and biochemical pathways that impart long life, researchers may ultimately uncover tricks that can extend our own lifespans, too.
Everyone has a rough idea of what aging is, just from experiencing it as it happens to themselves and others. Our skin sags, our hair goes gray, joints stiffen and creak—all signs that our components—that is, proteins and other biomolecules—aren't what they used to be. As a result, we're more prone to chronic diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's and diabetes—and the older we get, the more likely we are to die each year. "You live, and by living you produce negative consequences like molecular damage. This damage accumulates over time," says Vadim Gladyshev, who researches aging at Harvard Medical School. "In essence, this is aging."
This happens faster for some species than others, though—the clearest pattern is that bigger animals tend to live longer lives than smaller ones. But even after accounting for size, huge differences in longevity remain. A house mouse lives just two or three years, while the naked mole rat, a similar-sized rodent, lives more than 35. Bowhead whales are enormous—the second-largest living mammal—but their 200-year lifespan is at least double what you'd expect given their size. Humans, too, are outliers: We live twice as long as our closest relatives, the chimpanzees.
Perhaps the most remarkable animal Methuselahs are among bats. One individual of Myotis brandtii, a small bat about a third the size of a mouse, was recaptured, still hale and hearty, 41 years after it was initially banded. That is especially amazing for an animal living in the wild, says Emma Teeling, a bat evolutionary biologist at University College Dublin who coauthored a review exploring the value of bats in studying aging in the 2018 Annual Review of Animal Biosciences. "It's equivalent to about 240 to 280 human years, with little to no sign of aging," she says. "So bats are extraordinary. The question is, Why?"
1.) Sarah J. Mitchell, Morten Scheibye-Knudsen, Dan L. Longo, et al. Animal Models of Aging Research: Implications for Human Aging and Age-Related Diseases*, (DOI: 10.1146/annurev-animal-022114-110829)
2.) Emma C. Teeling, Sonja C. Vernes, Liliana M. Dávalos, et al. Bat Biology, Genomes, and the Bat1K Project: To Generate Chromosome-Level Genomes for All Living Bat Species, (DOI: 10.1146/annurev-animal-022516-022811)
Zhonghe Ke, Pramit Mallik, Adam B. Johnson, et al. Translation fidelity coevolves with longevity [open], Aging Cell (DOI: 10.1111/acel.12628)
There are few better ways of asserting your independent spirit as a hardware hacker than by creating your own special timepiece. Even more so if the timepiece is a watch, particularly in this era of smartwatches. Few home-made timepieces though have come as near to wristwatch Nirvana as the cuckoo clock wristwatch from [Kiyotaka Akasaka], which we would venture to name as having won wristwatches. Nobody will top this one in the field of home-made clocks!
There is a short (35 second) video of it on YouTube.
What's the most unusual timepiece you've ever seen? Worn? Do you have a favorite?
My favorite is a Seiko Titanium Grand Sport that I bought about 15 years ago. It's not that unusual, but it is amazingly light-weight. It's a little small at 38mm but that size is fine for me.
Story at SciTechDaily:
On Monday, June 7, at 1:35 p.m. EDT (10:35 a.m. PDT), NASA's Juno spacecraft will come within 645 miles (1,038 kilometers) of the surface of Jupiter's largest moon, Ganymede. The flyby will be the closest a spacecraft has come to the solar system's largest natural satellite since NASA's Galileo spacecraft made its penultimate close approach back on May 20, 2000. Along with striking imagery, the solar-powered spacecraft's flyby will yield insights into the moon's composition, ionosphere, magnetosphere, and ice shell. Juno's measurements of the radiation environment near the moon will also benefit future missions to the Jovian system.
Ganymede is bigger than the planet Mercury and is the only moon in the solar system with its own magnetosphere – a bubble-shaped region of charged particles surrounding the celestial body.
"Juno carries a suite of sensitive instruments capable of seeing Ganymede in ways never before possible," said Juno Principal Investigator Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "By flying so close, we will bring the exploration of Ganymede into the 21st century, both complementing future missions with our unique sensors and helping prepare for the next generation of missions to the Jovian system – NASA's Europa Clipper and ESA's [European Space Agency's] JUpiter ICy moons Explorer [JUICE] mission."
[...] Signals from Juno's X-band and Ka-band radio wavelengths will be used to perform a radio occultation experiment to probe the moon's tenuous ionosphere (the outer layer of an atmosphere where gases are excited by solar radiation to form ions, which have an electrical charge).
"As Juno passes behind Ganymede, radio signals will pass through Ganymede's ionosphere, causing small changes in the frequency that should be picked up by two antennas at the Deep Space Network's Canberra complex in Australia," said Dustin Buccino, a signal analysis engineer for the Juno mission at JPL. "If we can measure this change, we might be able to understand the connection between Ganymede's ionosphere, its intrinsic magnetic field, and Jupiter's magnetosphere."
[...] Due to the speed of the flyby, the icy moon will – from JunoCam's viewpoint – go from being a point of light to a viewable disk then back to a point of light in about 25 minutes. So that's just enough time for five images.
"Things usually happen pretty quick in the world of flybys, and we have two back-to-back next week. So literally every second counts," said Juno Mission Manager Matt Johnson of JPL. "On Monday, we are going to race past Ganymede at almost 12 miles per second (19 kilometers per second). Less than 24 hours later we're performing our 33rd science pass of Jupiter – screaming low over the cloud tops, at about 36 miles per second (58 kilometers per second). It is going to be a wild ride."
Juno's wild ride. She always was a goddess not to be messed with!
[...] The Swiss will vote on Jun 13 on a proposal which, if it passes, would make Switzerland the first country in the world to ban synthetic pesticides.
Proponents seek to ban pesticides with non-naturally occurring chemicals - and not only for agriculture but also for public green spaces, private gardens, and even for killing the weeds on railway tracks.
The initiative, entitled "For a Switzerland free from synthetic pesticides", would also ban the import of foodstuffs produced with synthetic pesticides, so as not to put Swiss farmers at a disadvantage.
DURHAM, N.C. -- An artificial intelligence tool being developed by Duke scientists can be added to the standard toilet to help analyze patients' stool and give gastroenterologists the information they need to provide appropriate treatment for chronic issues such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
"Typically, gastroenterologists have to rely on patient self-reported information about their stool to help determine the cause of their gastrointestinal health issues, which can be very unreliable," said Deborah Fisher, MD, associate professor of medicine at Duke University and one of the lead authors on the study.
[...] The prototype has promising feasibility, but it is not yet available to the public. Researchers are developing additional features of the technology to include stool specimen sampling for biochemical marker analysis that will provide highly specific disease data to meet the needs of patients and gastroenterologists.
Never Say Never Again
NASA's Mars helicopter Ingenuity will take to the air again this weekend, if all goes according to plan.
Ingenuity's handlers are prepping the 4-lb. (1.8 kilograms) chopper for its seventh Martian flight, which will take place no earlier than Sunday (June 6). The plan is to send Ingenuity to a new airfield, about 350 feet (105 meters) south of its current location on the floor of Jezero Crater.
"This will mark the second time the helicopter will land at an airfield that it did not survey from the air during a previous flight," NASA officials wrote in an update on Friday (June 4). "Instead, the Ingenuity team is relying on imagery collected by the HiRISE camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that suggests this new base of operations is relatively flat and has few surface obstructions."
Data from the flight will be beamed home to Earth over the three days following the flight, they added.
Surviving an In-Flight Anomaly: What Happened on Ingenuity's Sixth Flight
Mars Helicopter Suffered Glitch During Flight, Forced Emergency Landing
Mars Helicopter Flight Delayed to No Earlier than April 14
NASA's Ingenuity Helicopter Survives First Freezing Night on Mars
NASA's Mars Rover Drops Off Ingenuity Helicopter Ahead of Historic Flight
First Flight on Mars? Ingenuity Helicopter Preps for Takeoff
NASA Lays Out Plans for its First Flights on Mars
The Linux x86/x86_64 kernel code already had logic in place for reserving portions of the first 1MB of RAM to avoid the BIOS or kernel potentially clobbering that space among other reasons while now Linux 5.13 is doing away with that "wankery" and will just unconditionally always reserve the first 1MB of RAM.
[...] The motivation now for Linux 5.13 in getting that 1MB unconditional reservation in place for Linux x86/x86_64 stems from a bug report around an AMD Ryzen system being unbootable on Linux 5.13 since the change to consolidate their early memory reservations handling. Just unconditionally doing the first 1MB makes things much simpler to handle.
The change was sent in this morning as part of x86/urgent. "Do away with all the wankery of reserving X amount of memory in the first megabyte to prevent BIOS corrupting it and simply and unconditionally reserve the whole first megabyte."
no more wankery
A sinking cargo ship off the coast of Sri Lanka is causing an environmental disaster for the country that looks set to have long-term effects.
The X-Press Pearl caught fire on May 20 and burned for two weeks, but the fire appears to have mostly burned out. The crew was evacuated. The ship is now partially sitting on the seabed with its front settling down slowly.
Its cargo is the concern: The ship was carrying dangerous chemicals, including 25 tons of nitric acid and 350 tons of fuel oil. The ship's operator says oil has not spilled so far. But what's already having an impact on beaches nearby are the 78 metric tons of plastic called nurdles — the raw material used to make most types of plastic products.
Wave after wave of plastic pellets are washing ashore. The ship is about 5 miles from the nearest beach.
Also at The Guardian.
Mozilla has released Firefox 89, proclaiming it a "fresh new Firefox," though it comes amid a relentless decline in market share.
A glance at a statistics site like W3Counter is telling. In April 2008, Microsoft enjoyed a 63 per cent market share with Internet Explorer, and with Firefox performing strongly behind it at 29.3 per cent. By April 2010, IE was down to 48.6 per cent, Firefox up to 32.7 per cent, and Google's newer Chrome was starting to make an impact, at 8.3 per cent.
In April 2012, the three were almost on a par, though Chrome (26.8 per cent) had overtaken Firefox (25 per cent). Today, Chrome is at 65.3 per cent, Safari second at 16.7 per cent, IE and Edge has 5.7 per cent, and Firefox has just 4.1 per cent share. Despite numerous updates, Mozilla's browser has declined from 6.1 per cent share a year ago. Statcounter tells a similar story, reporting a 3.59 per cent share for Firefox, down from 4.21 per cent a year ago.
[...] We found that households that do have access to clean fuels, safe water, basic education and adequate food—that is, those not in extreme poverty—can use as little as half the energy of the national average in their country.
This is important, as it goes directly against the argument that more resources and energy will be needed for people in the global south to escape extreme poverty. The biggest factor is the switch from traditional cooking fuels, like firewood or charcoal, to more efficient (and less polluting) electricity and gas.
In Zambia, Nepal and Vietnam, modern energy resources are extremely unfairly distributed—more so than income, general spending, or even spending on leisure. As a consequence, poorer households use more dirty energy than richer households, with ensuing health and gender impacts. Cooking with inefficient fuels consumes a lot of energy, and even more when water needs to be boiled before drinking.
After a United Nations commission to block killer robots was shut down in 2018, a new report from the international body now says the Terminator-like drones are now here.
[...] The March 2020 attack was in Libya and perpetrated by a Kargu-2 quadcopter drone produced by Turkish military tech company STM "during a conflict between Libyan government forces and a breakaway military faction led by Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army," the Star reports, adding: "The Kargu-2 is fitted with an explosive charge and the drone can be directed at a target in a kamikaze attack, detonating on impact."
[...] "The lethal autonomous weapons systems were programmed to attack targets without requiring data connectivity between the operator and the munition: in effect, a true 'fire, forget and find' capability" – suggesting the drones attacked on their own.
[...] In August of last year, Human Rights Watch warned of the need for legislation against "killer robots" while NYC mayoral candidate Andrew Yang has called for a global ban on them – something the US and Russia are against.