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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[Ed note: if anyone happens upon a better link about the eclipse — where and when it is visible — please post it to the comments!
On June 10, skywatchers all over the world will be able to view the eclipse.
[...] A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly between the Earth and the sun, completely blocking the sun's light. During an annular solar eclipse, the moon does not completely cover the sun as it passes, leaving a glowing ring of sunlight visible.
An annular eclipse can only occur under specific conditions, NASA says. The moon must be in its first lunar phase, and it must also be farther away from Earth in its elliptical orbit, appearing smaller in the sky than it usually would.
Because the moon appears smaller under these circumstances, it cannot fully block out the sun, forming what's called a "ring of fire" or "ring of light."
"As the pair rises higher in the sky, the silhouette of the Moon will gradually shift off the sun to the lower left, allowing more of the Sun to show until the eclipse ends," NASA said.
This is just one of two solar eclipses in 2021. A total solar eclipse will be visible on December 4.
Relativity Space, leveraging their 3D printing technology, has announced the next step towards supporting multiplanetary spaceflight: a fully reusable, medium lift launch vehicle named Terran R.
The company's second launch vehicle, succeeding the Terran 1 rocket to debut later this year, will have more payload capacity than the partially reusable SpaceX Falcon 9, and is only the second fully reusable commercial launch vehicle to be revealed publicly after SpaceX's Starship.
The two stage Terran R rocket will be 216 feet (65.8 meters) tall and 16 feet (4.9 meters) in diameter. The second stage features aerodynamic surfaces which will enable recovery and reuse, in addition to a reusable 5 meter diameter payload fairing. Terran R will be capable of delivering over 20,000 kilograms to Low Earth Orbit in its reusable configuration, beating Falcon 9's 15,600 kilograms with drone ship recovery.
Just like Terran 1, Relativity's small lift vehicle offering 1,250 kilograms to Low Earth Orbit, the components for Terran R will be 3D printed. Relativity Space aims to reduce cost and improve reliability by designing 3D printed vehicles with a low part count.
Previously: Relativity Space Leases Land at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi
Aerospace Startup Making 3D-Printed Rockets Now Has a Launch Site at America's Busiest Spaceport
Relativity Space Selected to Launch Satellites for Telesat
The FDA has approved a new drug for Alzheimer's disease, while not a cure it is supposed to slow the decline. Even though data is not entirely positive or straight forward in its interpretation or that it will actually even work as thought.
But if you have it then you are probably desperate enough to try almost anything that claims to work, until you get to the price tag of $56,000 per year. That will probably make it out of reach for most people, it's doubtful if any insurance will cover something like this. Perhaps you can just forget to pay the bill, they might understand due to your condition.
Biogen CEO Michel Vounatsos [...][said] he thought the drug's price was "fair" but also vowed that the company would not hike its price for four years.
In Surprise Turnaround, Biogen to Submit Previously Failed Alzheimer Drug for Approval
Disputed Alzheimer's Study Links Decrease in Amyloid Levels to Reduction in Cognitive Decline
Positive Result in Mice as Alzheimer's Drug Trials Fail and Regulatory Barriers Are Rolled Back
Crypto investors are waking to sea of red this morning as the entire market took an absolute hammering overnight for the second time in just a few weeks.
The price of bitcoin fell sharply on overnight, approaching a dreaded $US30,000 ($A38,800) threshold it has not crossed since January and dragging other cryptocurrencies in its wake.
At around 2am, bitcoin fell 8.6 per cent to a value of $US31,501 ($A40,715), a level not seen since mid-May, when the volatile cryptocurrency temporarily lost 30 per cent in one session.
The second-largest cryptocurrency, ethereum, lost 11.2 per cent of its value, falling to $US2361 ($A3051).
Bitcoin's value has recovered slightly since the drop, rising to $US33,738 ($A43,606) at around 7am today – but, across the board, almost all of the smaller cryptos have been battered overnight.
[...] No concrete reason appeared to explain the price drop on Tuesday, but some analysts pointed to the seizure of $2.3 million ($A3 million) worth of bitcoin belonging to the Darkside hackers by US authorities as a possible factor.
[...] The US managed to recover almost all the bitcoin ransom paid to the perpetrators of the cyber attack on the Colonial Pipeline last month.
[...] It is being seen as a sign that law enforcement is capable of pursuing online criminals even when they operate outside the nation's borders – and, crucially, that crypto isn't beyond government control.
The Senate voted overwhelmingly to pass the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, formerly known as the Endless Frontier Act, Tuesday. The bill approves hundreds of billions of dollars in spending for science and technology at a range of government agencies, as well as $52 billion for chip manufacturing. The heavily debated and amended bill now heads to the House, where it faces an uphill battle against key Democrats who have, up to this point, vocally opposed it.
[...] Senators attached a slew of new provisions to benefit certain sectors of the tech industry, including appropriating $52 billion to boost chip manufacturing in the U.S. Another amendment would add $10 billion for NASA's lunar landing program, a provision Sen. Bernie Sanders called "welfare to Mr. [Jeff] Bezos," who owns the space company Blue Origin.
The semiconductor industry applauded the bill upon its passage. "Senate passage of USICA is a pivotal step toward strengthening U.S. semiconductor production and innovation and an indication of the strong, bipartisan support in Washington for ensuring sustained American leadership in science and technology," John Neuffer, CEO of the Semiconductor Industry Association, said in a statement.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar also managed to squeeze in an antitrust provision that would increase filing fees for large mergers.
The final bill includes a litany of oddball items vaguely linked to China — from a prohibition on the sale of shark fins to an exemption on country of origin labeling for cooked king crab. By the time it passed, the bill stretched more than 2,000 pages long.
The mad rush to stuff the bill full of tangential amendments was as good a sign as any early on that the law could actually pass the Senate. But it faces a bigger challenge in the House, where Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, who chairs the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, could block its advancement. Johnson has written publicly about her opposition to the Endless Frontier Act, arguing that it creates a "'shiny new object' that gets the attention of policymakers to the detriment of NSF's fundamental research mission."
The first two images from NASA Juno's June 7, 2021, flyby of Jupiter's giant moon Ganymede have been received on Earth. The photos – one from the Jupiter orbiter's JunoCam imager and the other from its Stellar Reference Unit star camera – show the surface in remarkable detail, including craters, clearly distinct dark and bright terrain, and long structural features possibly linked to tectonic faults.
"This is the closest any spacecraft has come to this mammoth moon in a generation," said Juno Principal Investigator Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "We are going to take our time before we draw any scientific conclusions, but until then we can simply marvel at this celestial wonder."
[...] "The conditions in which we collected the dark side image of Ganymede were ideal for a low-light camera like our Stellar Reference Unit," said Heidi Becker, Juno's radiation monitoring lead at JPL. "So this is a different part of the surface than seen by JunoCam in direct sunlight. It will be fun to see what the two teams can piece together."
The spacecraft will send more images from its Ganymede flyby in the coming days, with JunoCam's raw images being made available here.
Also at NYT.
Dreams result from a process that often combines fragments of multiple life experiences and anticipates future events, according to novel evidence from a new study.
Results show that 53.5% of dreams were traced to a memory, and nearly 50% of reports with a memory source were connected to multiple past experiences. The study also found that 25.7% of dreams were related to specific impending events, and 37.4% of dreams with a future event source were additionally related to one or more specific memories of past experiences. Future-oriented dreams became proportionally more common later in the night.
"Humans have struggled to understand the meaning of dreams for millennia," said principal investigator Erin Wamsley, who has a doctorate in cognitive neuroscience and is an associate professor in the department of psychology and program in neuroscience at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. "We present new evidence that dreams reflect a memory-processing function. Although it has long been known that dreams incorporate fragments of past experience, our data suggest that dreams also anticipate probable future events."
According to Wamsley, the proportional increase of future-oriented dreams later in the night may be driven by temporal proximity to the upcoming events. While these dreams rarely depict future events realistically, the activation and recombination of future-relevant memory fragments may nonetheless serve an adaptive function.
Wamsley, Erin. 034 Dreaming as Constructive Episodic Future Simulation, Sleep (DOI: 10.1093/sleep/zsab072.033)
[Mathy] Vanhoef, who is affiliated with KU Leuven and New York University Abu Dhabi, found three vulnerabilities in the Wi-Fi security protocol. He also identified several programming errors in devices with Wi-Fi connections. For the study, he tested 75 devices, including smartphones, laptops, and smart devices. All devices that were tested were vulnerable to at least one of the discovered flaws.
The weaknesses found in the Wi-Fi security protocols are very difficult to exploit, which may explain why they remained under the radar for a long time: Vanhoef found them in the current WPA3 protocol, but also in all previous security protocols, dating back to 1997.
[...] The programming errors that Vanhoef found in Wi-Fi devices are especially problematic for smart appliances and computers that have not been updated in a long time because it is easier to abuse them in these cases.
[...] There is no immediate cause for concern. “It’s impossible to tell if these flaws have already been abused. It seems rather unlikely because they went unnoticed for so long.” Over the past nine months, Vanhoef worked closely with many major IT companies, including Google and Microsoft, to fix the weaknesses. This happened via the Wi-Fi Alliance, an association of IT companies that jointly own and control the Wi-Fi trademark. Yesterday, they launched the necessary updates to fix the flaws.
[...] Visit fragattacks.com for more information about the discovered weaknesses.
He has created a website fragattacks.com which goes into considerable detail outlining the various flaws that were discovered. There are also links to tools that he has made available including a bootable live image. There is also a 6m30s video demonstration available on YouTube.
Bosch, one of the worlds largest engineering companies, is trying to cash in on the global chip shortage by starting production in Germany, even though it's apparently mostly a wafer plant and they are sending those to Asia for packaging and assembly.
A large chunk of it is probably for their own needs as they make everything from power tools to medical equipment.
But why not just do the assembly in Germany to? This shipping things back and forth — isn't this one of the points of failure that has been experienced during COVID-19?
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said on Monday he would fly on the first human spaceflight of his company's New Shepard spacecraft. This mission will launch from Blue Origin's spaceport in West Texas on July 20, which is the anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing in 1969.
With this timeline, Bezos seemed almost certain to beat his suborbital space tourism rival, Sir Richard Branson, into space. Setting aside whether Branson's VSS Unity vehicle reaches space—its maximum altitude is just below the Kármán line, or 100 km—this is nonetheless a meaningful milestone.
On Tuesday, Australian police said they had carried out hundreds of search warrants in the past 24 hours and arrested 224 people, with simultaneous stings taking place in Europe and the United States. New Zealand police said they detained 35 people, including top members of criminal gangs.
For nearly three years, law enforcement officials have been sitting in the back pocket of some of the world's top alleged crime figures. Custom cellphones, bought on the black market and installed with the FBI-controlled platform, called AN0M, circulated and grew in popularity among criminals as high-profile crime identities vouched for its integrity.
The FBI in the past has dismantled encrypted platforms used by criminals to communicate, and infiltrated others. This operation saw the FBI create a closed encrypted app, AN0M, to fill the void and to target organized crime, drug trafficking and money laundering activities across the globe by monitoring people's communications about their criminal offending.
(...) The users believed their AN0M devices were secured by encryption. Rather, they were feeding criminal intelligence directly to law enforcement agents.
"Essentially, they have handcuffed each other by endorsing and trusting AN0M and openly communicating on it — not knowing we were watching the entire time," Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw said.
The global operation, known as Special Operation Ironside in Australia and Trojan Shield in the United States, has allegedly exposed criminals linked to South American drug cartels, Triad groups in Asia, and criminal syndicates based in the Middle East and Europe.
More than 800 suspected criminals have been arrested worldwide after being tricked into using an FBI-run encrypted messaging app, officials say. The operation, jointly conceived by Australia and the FBI, saw devices with the ANOM app secretly distributed among criminals, allowing police to monitor their chats about drug smuggling, money laundering and even murder plots. Officials called it a watershed moment.
Targets included drug gangs and people with links to the mafia. Drugs, weapons, luxury vehicles and cash were also seized in the operation, which was conducted across more than a dozen countries. This included eight tons of cocaine, 250 guns and more than $48m (£34m) in various worldwide currencies and cryptocurrencies.
[...] The FBI began operating an encrypted device network called ANOM, and covertly distributed devices with the chat app among the criminal underworld via informants. The idea for the operation came after two other encrypted platforms were taken down by law enforcement agencies, leaving criminal gangs in the market for new secure phones. The devices were initially used by alleged senior crime figures, giving other criminals the confidence to use the platform.
Australian police have told local media that the man who unwittingly helped to distribute the FBI-run encrypted messaging app was a fugitive named Hakan Ayik. Alleged to be a drugs kingpin himself, officials say Mr Ayik was identified as a key influencer and given access by undercover agents to a handset which he then recommended to other criminal associates. "He was identified because of his standing within the underworld," a senior investigator quoted by the Australian Telegraph said. "He was a primary target as someone who was trusted and was going to be able to successfully distribute this platform."
It is reported that he has been living abroad in Turkey for years and police have urged him to come forward for his own safety. "Given the threat he faces, he's best off handing himself into us as soon as he can," Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw said.
For reasons unknown, Earth's solid-iron inner core is growing faster on one side than the other, and it has been ever since it started to freeze out from molten iron more than half a billion years ago, according to a new study by seismologists at the University of California, Berkeley.
The faster growth under Indonesia's Banda Sea hasn't left the core lopsided. Gravity evenly distributes the new growth — iron crystals that form as the molten iron cools — to maintain a spherical inner core that grows in radius by an average of 1 millimeter per year.
But the enhanced growth on one side suggests that something in Earth's outer core or mantle under Indonesia is removing heat from the inner core at a faster rate than on the opposite side, under Brazil. Quicker cooling on one side would accelerate iron crystallization and inner core growth on that side.
This has implications for Earth's magnetic field and its history, because convection in the outer core driven by release of heat from the inner core is what today drives the dynamo that generates the magnetic field that protects us from dangerous particles from the sun.
"We provide rather loose bounds on the age of the inner core — between half a billion and 1.5 billion years — that can be of help in the debate about how the magnetic field was generated prior to the existence of the solid inner core," said Barbara Romanowicz, UC Berkeley Professor of the Graduate School in the Department of Earth and Planetary Science and emeritus director of the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory (BSL). "We know the magnetic field already existed 3 billion years ago, so other processes must have driven convection in the outer core at that time."
(...) Asymmetric growth of the inner core explains a three-decade-old mystery — that the crystallized iron in the core seems to be preferentially aligned along the rotation axis of the earth, more so in the west than in the east, whereas one would expect the crystals to be randomly oriented.
Evidence for this alignment comes from measurements of the travel time of seismic waves from earthquakes through the inner core. Seismic waves travel faster in the direction of the north-south rotation axis than along the equator, an asymmetry that geologists attribute to iron crystals — which are asymmetric — having their long axes preferentially aligned along Earth's axis.
Daniel A. Frost, Marine Lasbleis, Brian Chandler, et al. Dynamic history of the inner core constrained by seismic anisotropy, Nature Geoscience (DOI: 10.1038/s41561-021-00761-w)
Also at Nature
The U.S. Departmentof Justice said today it has recovered $2.3 million worth of Bitcoin that Colonial Pipeline paid to ransomware extortionists last month. The funds had been sent to DarkSide, a ransomware-as-a-service syndicate that disbanded after a May 14 farewell message to affiliates saying its Internet servers and cryptocurrency stash were seized by unknown law enforcement entities.
On May 7, the DarkSide ransomware gang sprang its attack against Colonial, which ultimately paid 75 Bitcoin (~$4.4 million) to its tormentors. The company said the attackers only hit its business IT networks — not its pipeline security and safety systems — but that it shut the pipeline down anyway as a precaution [several publications noted Colonial shut down its pipeline because its billing system was impacted, and it had no way to get paid].
On or around May 14, the DarkSide representative on several Russian-language cybercrime forums posted a message saying the group was calling it quits.
"Servers were seized, money of advertisers and founders was transferred to an unknown account," read the farewell message. "Hosting support, apart from information 'at the request of law enforcement agencies,' does not provide any other information."
WASHINGTON: The Justice Department has recovered the majority of a multimillion-dollar ransom payment to hackers after a cyberattack that caused the operator of the nation's largest fuel pipeline to halt its operations last month, officials said Monday. The operation to recover the cryptocurrency from the Russia-based hacker group is the first undertaken by a specialized ransomware task force created by the Justice Department, and reflects what US officials say is an increasingly aggressive approach to deal with a ransomware threat that in the last month has targeted critical industries around the world. "By going after an entire ecosystem that fuels ransomware and digital currency, we will continue to use all of our tools and all of our resources to increase the costs and the consequences of ransomware attacks and other cyber-enabled attacks," Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said Monday at a news conference announcing the operation.
A major outage has affected a number of major websites including Amazon, Reddit and Twitch.
The UK government website - gov.uk - was also down as were the Financial Times, the Guardian and the New York Times.
Cloud computing provider Fastly, which underpins a lot of major websites, said it was behind the problems.
The firm said there were issues with its global content delivery network (CDN) and was implementing a fix.
In a statement, it said: "We identified a service configuration that triggered disruption across our POPs (points of presence) globally and have disabled that configuration.
"Our global network is coming back online."
[...] Fastly runs what is known as an "edge cloud", which is designed to speed up loading times for websites, as well as protect them from denial-of-service attacks and help them when traffic is peaking.
It currently looks as if the problems were localised, meaning specific locations across Europe and the US were affected.
Also at c|net
[...] In a new study, a team of physicists led by University of Iowa reports definitive evidence that the most brilliant auroras are produced by powerful electromagnetic waves during geomagnetic storms. The phenomena, known as Alfven waves, accelerate electrons toward Earth, causing the particles to produce the familiar atmospheric light show.
The study, published online June 7 in the journal Nature Communications, concludes a decades-long quest to demonstrate experimentally the physical mechanisms for the acceleration of electrons by Alfven waves under conditions corresponding to Earth's auroral magnetosphere.
"Measurements revealed this small population of electrons undergoes 'resonant acceleration' by the Alfven wave's electric field, similar to a surfer catching a wave and being continually accelerated as the surfer moves along with the wave," says Greg Howes, associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Iowa and study co-author.
J. W. R. Schroeder, G. G. Howes, C. A. Kletzing, et al. Laboratory measurements of the physics of auroral electron acceleration by Alfvén waves [open], Nature Communications (DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-23377-5)
Also at Nature