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posted by janrinok on Sunday January 09 2022, @11:46PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the cool! dept.

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Successfully Unfolds its Massive Mirror

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope successfully unfolds its massive mirror:

The team behind the recently launched James Webb Space Telescope successfully finished unfolding the instrument's distinctive golden mirror on Saturday, meaning the telescope is now fully deployed and is one step closer to sending back data about the universe's first galaxies.

"The successful completion of all of the Webb Space Telescope's deployments is historic," Webb's program director at NASA Headquarters, Gregory L. Robinson, said in a release. "This is the first time a NASA-led mission has ever attempted to complete a complex sequence to unfold an observatory in space – a remarkable feat for our team, NASA, and the world."

NASA and its partners, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, began remotely unfolding the two wings of Webb's primary mirror on Friday and completed the task at about 10:15 a.m. PT Saturday, when the second wing latched into place.

Over the next six months, Webb is set to travel 1 million miles from Earth and begin sending back images of the universe that promise to serve up a new, unfiltered story of the cosmos. Not only will Webb teach us about hidden regions of space, it also has the power to prove whether we've correctly documented the events that happened right after the Big Bang.

Remarkably, NASA Has Completed Deployment of the Webb Space Telescope

Remarkably, NASA has completed deployment of the Webb space telescope:

But now that ultra complex heat shield is working. The temperature on the Sun-facing side of the telescope is 55 degrees Celsius [(131 °F)], or a very, very, very hot day in the Sahara desert . And already, the science instruments on the back side of the sunshield have cooled to -199 degrees Celsius[(-326.2 °F)], a temperature at which nitrogen is a liquid. They will yet cool further.

Work remains, of course. Webb still must traverse about 370,000 km to reach an orbit around a stable Lagrange point, L2. Scientists and engineers must check out and align the 18 primary mirror segments. Scientific instruments must be calibrated. But all of this work is somewhat more routine when it comes to science spacecraft. There are risks, to be sure, but these are mostly known risks.

We can therefore be reasonably confident now that Webb will, in fact, begin to make science observations this summer. We should, truly, be in awe.

Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

posted by janrinok on Sunday January 09 2022, @07:01PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the stable-coin-might-exit-the-barn dept.

PayPal confirms it's exploring the launch of its own stablecoin:

PayPal has been expanding its cryptocurrency business since it opened trading to all users in 2020. It allowed US customers to check out with cryptocurrency and increased its crypto buy limit over the past year. In the future, it might also offer a stablecoin of its own. Jose Fernandez da Ponte, SVP of crypto and digital currencies at PayPal, has confirmed to Bloomberg that the online payment provider is "exploring a stablecoin." He also said that the company will work closely with relevant regulators "if and when [it] seek[s] to move forward."

A developer named Steve Moser found hidden code and images for a "PayPal Coin" in the company's app and shared them with Bloomberg. Based on what he discovered, the PayPal Coin will be backed by the US dollar.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday January 09 2022, @02:14PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the rain-drops^W^W-rockets-keep-falling-on-my-head dept.

A big failed Russian rocket just came crashing back to Earth out of control:

A Russian rocket fell to a watery resting place on Wednesday after an uncontrolled reentry into Earth's atmosphere.

The Persei booster was launched on Dec. 27 by the heavy-lift Angara-A5 rocket for a test mission. However, the upper-stage booster failed to enter the Earth's orbit as planned. Instead, it began inevitably being pulled back toward the atmosphere by Earth's gravity for an expected return to the surface in bits and pieces (if at all) on Wednesday afternoon, Pacific time.

[...] "I do NOT regard this object as a significant risk," leading orbit watcher and astronomer Jonathan McDowell said on Twitter.  "Reentries for a object with dry mass of about 4 tonnes may see some debris reach the ground, but not much."

The rocket is thought to have weighed around 20 tons, but over 75% of that mass would have been in fuel that almost certainly would have burned up in the atmosphere.

The 18th Space Control Squadron of the US Space Force confirmed that the rocket reentered over the Pacific Ocean just after 1 p.m. PT on Wednesday.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday January 09 2022, @09:27AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Red-Adair dept.

Turkmenistan's leader wants 'Gates of Hell' fire put out:

The president of Turkmenistan is calling for an end to one of the country's most notable but infernal sights — the blazing natural gas crater widely referred to as the "Gates of Hell."

The desert crater located about 260 kilometers (160 miles) north of the capital, Ashgabat, has burned for decades and is a popular sight for the small number of tourists who come to Turkmenistan, a country which is difficult to enter.

The Turkmen news site Turkmenportal said a 1971 gas-drilling collapse formed the crater, which is about 60 meters (190 feet) in diameter and 20 meters (70 feet) deep. To prevent the spread of gas, geologists set a fire, expecting the gas to burn off in a few weeks.

[...] The spectacular if unwelcome fire that has burned ever since is so renowned that state TV showed President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov speeding around it in an off-road truck in 2019.

But Berdymukhamedov has ordered his government to look for ways to put the fire out because it is causing ecological damage and affecting the health of people living in the area, state newspaper Neitralny Turkmenistan reported Saturday.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday January 09 2022, @04:44AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the green-with-envy dept.

If you use an iPhone, you might have noticed that SMS conversations (green-bubbles) are harder to read than iMessage conversations (blue bubbles). That's not by accident — in fact, green bubbles weren't always so difficult to read.

You've probably heard of the green and blue text message bubble colors inside the iOS Messages app. On an iPhone, normal SMS text messages are colored green, while iMessage (Apple's iPhone-exclusive chat platform) conversations are colored blue. Many iPhone users shun the "green bubble" due to the fewer features provided by SMS. If you own an iPhone, you may feel the same frustration when trying to read a green-bubble chat, as they often feel harder to read than blue-bubble chats. That's no accident.

To begin, we have to take a trip back to 2011. As you may know, iMessage, along with the signature blue bubble, didn't exist until the release of iOS 5. Before iMessage was introduced, every message in the Messages app was green, as the only messaging supported at the time was SMS. Once they added iMessage to the Messages application on iOS, the blue bubbles came along with it to help differentiate between iMessage and SMS. Given that the Messages app has stuck with the same green bubble/blue bubble differentiation, it may sound like the hatred towards SMS isn't related to the color at all. However, along the way from iOS 5 to now, a tiny design change opened a user-experience chasm between SMS conversations and iMessage ones. This isn't a story about about the green or blue colors themselves — rather, it's a story about contrast, and its astonishing impact on our perceptions.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Sunday January 09 2022, @12:53AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Magnetic surprise revealed in 'magic-angle' graphene:

Now, a research team from Brown University has found a surprising new phenomenon that can arise in magic-angle graphene. In research published in the journal Science, the team showed that by inducing a phenomenon known as spin-orbit coupling, magic-angle graphene becomes a powerful ferromagnet.

"Magnetism and superconductivity are usually at opposite ends of the spectrum in condensed matter physics, and it's rare for them to appear in the same material platform," said Jia Li, an assistant professor of physics at Brown and senior author of the research. "Yet we've shown that we can create magnetism in a system that originally hosts superconductivity. This gives us a new way to study the interplay between superconductivity and magnetism, and provides exciting new possibilities for quantum science research."

Magic-angle graphene has caused quite a stir in physics in recent years. Graphene is a two-dimensional material made of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb-like pattern. Single sheets of graphene are interesting on their own -- displaying remarkable material strength and extremely efficient electrical conductance. But things get even more interesting when graphene sheets are stacked. Electrons begin to interact not only with other electrons within a graphene sheet, but also with those in the adjacent sheet. Changing the angle of the sheets with respect to each other changes those interactions, giving rise to interesting quantum phenomena like superconductivity.

This new research adds a new wrinkle -- spin-orbit coupling -- to this already interesting system. Spin-orbit coupling is a state of electron behavior in certain materials in which each electron's spin -- its tiny magnetic moment that points either up or down -- becomes linked to its orbit around the atomic nucleus.

"We know that spin-orbit coupling gives rise to a wide range of interesting quantum phenomena, but it's not normally present in magic-angle graphene," said Jiang-Xiazi Lin, a postdoctoral researcher at Brown and the study's lead author. "We wanted to introduce spin-orbit coupling, and then see what effect it had on the system."

Journal Reference:
Spin-orbit–driven ferromagnetism at half moiré filling in magic-angle twisted bilayer graphene, Science (DOI: 10.1126/science.abh2889)

Also at

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday January 08 2022, @08:10PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the PC-introns dept.

Anyone trying to disassemble the PC DOS 1.1 boot sector soon notices that at offsets 1A3h through 1BEh there is a byte sequence that just does not belong. It appears to be a fragment of code, but it has no purpose in the boot sector and is never executed. So why is the sequence of junk bytes there, and where did it come from?

The immediate answer is "it came from FORMAT.COM". The junk is copied verbatim from FORMAT.COM to the boot sector. But those junk bytes are not part of FORMAT.COM, either. So the question merely shifts to "why are the junk bytes in FORMAT.COM, and where did they come from?"

It is not known if anyone answered the question in the past, but the answer has been found now, almost 40 years later—twice independently.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Saturday January 08 2022, @03:31PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the can't-"beat"-it! dept.

Drone helps save cardiac arrest patient in Sweden:

An autonomous drone has helped to save the life of a 71-year-old man who was suffering a cardiac arrest.

The drone delivered a defibrillator to a doctor helping the man, who became ill while shovelling snow outside his house in Trollhattan, Sweden.

The man, who didn't wish to be named, told the BBC it was "fantastic" that it arrived so quickly.

The company behind the drone says it meant that defibrillation could begin before the arrival of an ambulance.

Everdrone says it took just over three minutes from the alarm being raised until the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) was delivered.

[...] The patient told the BBC he doesn't remember what happened that day in early December.

He was clearing thick snow from his driveway but when the cardiac arrest hit, "everything went black", he said.

[...] Dr Mustafa Ali, who happened to be driving past at the time, rushed to help and told Everdrone: "I was on my way to work at the local hospital when I looked out the car window and saw a man collapsed in his driveway.

"The man had no pulse, so I started doing CPR while asking another bystander to call 112 (the Swedish emergency number).

"Just minutes later, I saw something flying above my head. It was a drone with a defibrillator."

Everdrone chief executive Mats Sallstrom believes the technology played a part in a team effort to save the patient's life.

"It's a medical doctor doing CPR, it's the early defibrillation, it's the treatment in the ambulance on the way to the hospital," he told the BBC.

"It's important to understand that there's a chain of events saving the person's life, and the drone is a very critical part of how that system works."

The drone is a partnership between the Karolinska Institutet - Sweden's largest medical university - together with the national emergency operator SOS Alarm, Region Vastra Gotaland and Everdrone.

Finally some happy news.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Saturday January 08 2022, @10:43AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the charge-the-miners-more? dept.

Kosovo bans cryptocurrency mining after blackouts:

The government says security services will identify and clamp down on sources of cryptocurrency mining.

The mining is energy intensive and involves verifying digital transactions to get cryptocurrencies as a reward.

While all of Europe faces sharp price rises, Kosovo is enforcing rolling blackouts amid an electricity shortage.

The Balkan state's largest coal-fired power plant was shut down last month over a technical issue, forcing the government to import electricity at high prices.

A 60-day state of emergency, declared in December, gave the government powers to allocate more money for energy imports and impose stricter restrictions on power usage.

The blackouts have sparked protests and calls for the resignation of Economy Minister Artane Rizvanolli.

Energy prices are skyrocketing across Europe for various reasons, including low supplies from Russia and high demand for natural gas as economies recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The spike has been fuelled by geopolitical tensions with Russia, which supplies one third of Europe's gas. Russia has rejected European accusations that it has limited gas deliveries while tensions are raised

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Saturday January 08 2022, @06:00AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Walk-like-an-Egyptian^W-Iguana dept.

Volcano erupts on Galapagos island home to endangered iguana:

The Wolf volcano's slopes host the pink iguana, only 211 of which were reported to be left on Isabela, the largest island in the Galapagos archipelago, as of last August.

The volcano, the highest of the Galapagos, is some 100 kilometres (62 miles) from the nearest human settlement.

In a statement shared on Facebook on Friday, the Galapagos National Park said the volcano was emitting plumes of smoke and ash several thousand metres high, which were moving towards the north side of the island where no people are at risk.

[...] The national park said it sent eight park rangers and scientists working with the pink iguanas to check out the situation on Friday morning as a matter of precaution.

"The team confirmed that the habitat of these species is far from the eruption and the impact zone, so no additional protection measures are currently being considered," the statement read.

[...] The area also hosts yellow iguanas and the famous Galapagos giant tortoises.

The pink iguana was first spotted by park rangers in 1986 and classified as a separate species to other land iguanas on the Galapagos in 2009, according to the Galapagos Conservation Trust (GCT), a UK-registered charity that works on conservation on the islands.

[...] For its part, the Geophysical Institute of Quito said the 1,707-metre (5,600-foot) volcano spewed gas-and-ash clouds as high as 3,800 metres (12,467 feet) into the air, with lava flows on its southern and southeastern slopes.

Isabela island also hosts four other active volcanos.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday January 08 2022, @01:15AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the will-it-come-with-rainbow-coloured-unicorns-too? dept.

Verizon will bring ultrafast C-Band 5G to 100 million Americans within weeks:

Verizon Wireless plans to bring its 'Ultra Wideband 5G' service to more than 100 million people in the US later this month, delivering speeds of up to 1Gbps using C-Band spectrum.

5G networks will use a much more diverse range of spectrum than previous generations of mobile technology, with low-band frequencies like 700MHz offering wide coverage and high-band millimetre Wave (mmWave) delivering huge capacity over short distances.

Mid-range C-band 5G spectrum offers a compromise between these two desirable outcomes and will be a vital resource in the rollout of the high-speed networks.

Verizon used mmWave spectrum to become the first operator in the US to launch a commercial 5G service back in 2018 and, along with AT&T, T-Mobile, and US Wireless, won a licence for C-Band airwaves located between 3.7GHz and 3.98GHz in an auction earlier this year that raised $80 billion.

Now we can talk even faster! =)

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday January 07 2022, @10:34PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Sound-Off! dept.

US regulator rules that Google infringed on Sonos speaker patents:

The US International Trade Commission has agreed with Sonos' claims that Google had infringed on its speaker and cast patents. It issued its initial decision back in August, and this finalizes its ruling, which prohibits Google from importing products found to have violated Sonos' intellectual properties. Since Google manufactures its products in China, that means it won't be able to gets them shipped to the US when the import ban takes effect in 60 days.

Sonos sued Google in 2020 over five patents, which include one that details a technology allowing wireless speakers to sync with one another. As The New York Times notes, the products affected include Google's Home smart speakers, Pixel phones and computers, as well as Chromecast devices. While Google is facing an import ban, a spokesperson said that the tech giant doesn't expect the ruling to interrupt its ability to import and sell devices.

"While we disagree with today's decision, we appreciate that the International Trade Commission has approved our modified designs," the spokesperson told Protocol. "We will seek further review and continue to defend ourselves against Sonos' frivolous claims about our partnership and intellectual property." The commission didn't challenge those alternative designs in its final decision, which means Google can implement them.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday January 07 2022, @07:43PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the real-fireworks dept.

Giant dying star explodes as scientists watch in real time — a first for astronomy

The death of a star is one of the most dramatic and violent events in space -- and astronomers had an unprecedented front-row seat to the explosive end of a stellar giant.

Ground-based telescopes provided the first real-time look at the death throes of a red supergiant star. While these aren't the brightest or most massive stars, they are the largest in terms of volume.

One popular red supergiant star is Betelgeuse, which has captured interest due to its irregular dimming. While it was predicted that Betelgeuse may go supernova, it's still around.

However, the star at the heart of this new research, located in the NGC 5731 galaxy about 120 million light-years away from Earth, was 10 times more massive than the sun before it exploded.

Explosion of supergiant star captured by UH telescope | University of Hawaiʻi System News

Submitted via IRC for boru

For the first time, telescopes imaged the self-destruction and final death throes of a massive star.

A team of researchers used the UH Institute for Astronomy-operated Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) on Maui and W. M. Keck Observatory on Hawaiʻi Island observe the red supergiant during its last 130 days leading up to its deadly detonation. The observations were part of their ongoing Young Supernova Experiment (YSE) transient survey.

"This is a breakthrough in our understanding of what massive stars do moments before they die," said Wynn Jacobson-Galán, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow at University of California, Berkeley and lead author of the study. "Direct detection of pre-supernova activity in a red supergiant star has never been observed before in an ordinary Type II supernova. For the first time, we watched a red supergiant star explode!"


Exploding Supergiant Star Got Surprisingly Busy During its Final Days

Exploding Supergiant Star Got Surprisingly Busy During Its Final Days:

Red supergiant stars are quiet and calm before exploding into Type II supernova — but not this one. The observation is important because it suggests some supergiant stars experience significant internal changes before going supernova

The Type II supernova was detected on Sept. 16, 2020, but astronomers had already been tracking significant pre-explosion activity during the previous 130 days. In a W. M. Keck Observatory press release, Raffaella Margutti, an associate professor of astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley, said it was "like watching a ticking time bomb."

Type II supernovae result from the sudden collapse and violent explosion of massive stars. Only stars between eight and around 40 stellar masses undergo this form of death. "We've never confirmed such violent activity in a dying red supergiant star where we see it produce such a luminous emission, then collapse and combust, until now," said Margutti, the senior author of the new study, published in the Astronomical Journal.

Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

posted by martyb on Friday January 07 2022, @04:55PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the how'd-you-do-THAT? dept.

The case of the programs that were launched with impossible command line options

Several years ago, a bug was filed automatically due to a spike in failures in the Start menu with a new crash profile. Investigation of this bug was rather complicated, because the crash was "impossible".

Then again, a lot of failures seem to be "impossible", but the fact that they're happening proves that it's possible, and you just have to do some sleuthing and adopt a more creative mindset to figure them out.

One of the tools for investigating these types of failures is seeing what other programs are running at the time, or what other programs crashed shortly before or after the failure occurred. In this case, whenever the crash occurred, there was one specific third-party program running. This program billed itself as a utility that boosts your system's gaming performance by terminating all processes it deemed to be non-essential. Its advertising copy calls out useless "productivity apps" as one of those non-essential processes. (Yeah, how dare you let a computer be used for productivity? Can't you see I'm playing a game?)

Apparently, what happens that when the program detects that you're playing a game, it runs around and simply terminates all the non-essential processes.

Were any Soylentils bit by this?

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday January 07 2022, @02:23PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Global chip shortage: Samsung expects its profits to jump by 52%:

Technology giant Samsung Electronics has said it expects to post a 52% jump in profit for the last three months of 2021, amid the global chip shortage.

The world's biggest memory chip maker estimates that it made 13.8tn won ($11.5bn; £8.5bn) in the period. That would be its highest fourth quarter operating profit in four years. The company's earnings were boosted by strong demand for server memory chips and higher profit margins in its chip contract manufacturing business.

[...] Samsung's spending on such things as employees' bonuses and marketing for its smartphone business were seen as reasons for it missing the market forecast.

In recent months, the global shortage of semiconductors has been causing major disruptions for manufacturers, from carmakers that have had to suspend production to Apple warning that iPhone shipments would be delayed.

Original Submission