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posted by martyb on Monday January 10 2022, @11:02PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the computers-without-Alzheimers-department dept.

Mass production of revolutionary computer memory moves closer with ULTRARAM™ on silicon wafers for the first time

ULTRARAM™ is a novel type of memory with extraordinary properties. It combines the non-volatility of a data storage memory, like flash, with the speed, energy-efficiency and endurance of a working memory, like DRAM. To do this it utilises the unique properties of compound semiconductors, commonly used in photonic devices such as LEDS, laser diodes and infrared detectors, but not in digital electronics, which is the preserve of silicon.

[...] Now, in a collaboration between the Physics and Engineering Departments at Lancaster University and the Department of Physics at Warwick, ULTRARAM™ has been implemented on silicon wafers for the very first time.

Professor Manus Hayne of the Department of Physics at Lancaster, who leads the work said, "ULTRARAM™ on silicon is a huge advance for our research, overcoming very significant materials challenges of large crystalline lattice mismatch, the change from elemental to compound semiconductor and differences in thermal contraction."

[...] Remarkably, the ULTRARAM™ on silicon devices actually outperform previous incarnations of the technology on GaAs compound semiconductor wafers, demonstrating (extrapolated) data storage times of at least 1000 years, fast switching speed (for device size) and program-erase cycling endurance of at least 10 million, which is one hundred to one thousand times better than flash.

So... are we approaching the point where we get a plug-in RAM storage module that can be used like nonvolatile RAM -- because it is nonvolatile? And when you've built complex data structures on it with RAM efficiency, you can unplug it and put it, and of course the data, on a shelf for later use?

Or just plug it into a computer when you need an extra 24 gigabytes of RAM to formally verify a category-theoretical theorem?

How would *you* like to use this?

Journal Reference:
Peter D. Hodgson, Dominic Lane, Peter J. Carrington, et al. ULTRARAM: A Low‐Energy, High‐Endurance, Compound‐Semiconductor Memory on Silicon [open], Advanced Electronic Materials (DOI: 10.1002/aelm.202101103)


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday January 10 2022, @08:14PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the catch-me-if-you-can dept.

Ford dealers can ban F-150 Lightning customers from reselling trucks to discourage scalpers:

Ford is cracking down on anyone with mercenary intentions when it comes to buying an F-150 Lightning next year. In an effort to stop customers from quickly flipping their electric pickup truck for a hefty profit, Ford delivered a notice to dealerships issuing a new clause for soon-to-be owners. The note was posted on the F-150 Gen 14 forum on Friday. Should a dealer opt in, customers will be required to sign a "No-Sale" provision, banning them from reselling the truck within one year of ownership. The key here is, it's not required, Ford told Roadshow.

"Such a requirement is between a dealer and their customer," a spokesperson said. "It is up to the dealer to decide to use it and to consult with local laws in the state they operate should they choose to do so."

The clause reads, "Purchaser hereby agrees that it will not sell, offer to sell or otherwise transfer ownership interest in the Vehicle prior to the first anniversary of the date hereof. Purchaser further agrees that Seller may seek injunctive relief to prevent the transfer of title of the Vehicle or demand payment from Purchaser of all value received as consideration for the sale or transfer."


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday January 10 2022, @05:27PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the can-you-hear-me-now? dept.

A silicon photonic-electronic neural network that could enhance submarine transmission systems:

We are currently witnessing an explosion of network traffic. Numerous emerging services and applications, such as cloud services, video streaming platforms and the Internet of Things (IOT), are further increasing the demand for high-capacity communications. Optical communication systems, technologies that transfer information optically using fibers, are the backbone of today's communication networks of fixed-line, wireless infrastructure and data centers.

Over the past decade, the growth of the internet was enabled by a technique known as digital signal processing (DSP), which can help to reduce transmission distortions. However, DSP is currently implemented using CMOS integrated circuits (ICs), thus it relies heavily on Moore's Law, which has approached its limits in terms of power dissipation, density and feasible engineering solutions.

As a result, distortions caused by a phenomenon known as fiber nonlinearity cannot be compensated by DSP, as this would require too much computation power and resources. Fiber nonlinearities remain the major limiting effect on long-distance transmission systems.

Researchers at Princeton Lightwave Lab and NEC Laboratory America have recently created a new neural network hardware that could help to overcome this limitation, compensating for the adverse effects of fiber nonlinearity. This neural network, presented in a paper published in Nature Electronics, is run on a silicon-based photonic-electronic system composing of a few neurons, which can, in principle, outperform commercial DSP chips in throughput, latency and energy use."

"The research on 'neuromorphic photonics' at Princeton began with a discovery by our supervisor, Prof. Paul Prucnal, and neuroscientist David Rosenbluth," Chaoran Huang, one of the researchers who carried out the study, told Tech Xplore. "These two researchers found that photonic devices and biological neurons are governed by identical differential equations, yet 'photonic neurons' have a time scale of roughly picosecond to nanosecond whereas biological neurons have a time scale of roughly one millisecond."

Highly recommend reading the — long and detailed — linked article.

Journal Reference:
Chaoran Huang, Shinsuke Fujisawa, Thomas Ferreira de Lima, et al. A silicon photonic–electronic neural network for fibre nonlinearity compensation, Nature Electronics (DOI: 10.1038/s41928-021-00661-2)
Broadcast and Weight: An Integrated Network For Scalable Photonic Spike Processing, (DOI: 10.1109/JLT.2014.2345652)


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday January 10 2022, @02:37PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

ROCK5 Model B RK3588 single board computer is up for pre-order for $79 and up

Some will say "finally!" After years of waiting for [the] Rockchip RK3588 processor, ROCKPi Trading Limited/Radxa got some samples for their ROCK5 Model B single board computer and has started to take pre-orders with discounted prices starting at $79 through distributors.

But let's check out the specifications first, with the octa-core Cortex-A76/A55 Pico-ITX SBC shipping with up to 16GB RAM, M.2 NVMe storage, 2.5GbE, optional WiFi 6E, 8K video output via HDMI or USB-C ports, 4K HDMI input, and more.

[...] So how much does the board cost exactly? Those are the standard prices:

  • $129 with 4GB RAM
  • $149 with 8GB RAM
  • $189 with 16GB RAM

This is getting quite close to Intel hardware, but ROCK5 Model B has some features not found in most platforms at that price including HDMI input, MIPI CSI camera interfaces, GPIO header, and 2.5GbE.

But as mentioned in the introduction you can get the board for as low as $79 by pre-ordering the board. To get this price, you'll need to pay a $5 deposit (called R3 code "Radxa ROCK5 Redeem") to reserve the board, and then you'll be able to get a $50 discount on the prices above, meaning $79 for the 4GB version, $99 with 8 GB RAM, and $139 for the model with 16GB RAM. This is only valid for one board, and the R3 code is refundable at any time before shipping if you decide you don't want to[sic] board anymore.

Beware the VAT.

Previously:
Rockchip RK3588 Datasheet Available, SBCs Coming "Soon"
CNX Software: Year 2021 in Review


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday January 10 2022, @11:47AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the why-else-do-they-call-them-KEYboards? dept.

Happy New Year, the keyboard and cases are here!:

The keyboard case works with both the PinePhone and PinePhone Pro and features a clam-shell design. It uses pogo pins located on the phone's midsection and attaches by replacing the default back cover. When folded, the phone's screen and the keyboard rest securely against each other. The hinge features a 180° design, which not only allows for two-hand typing on a surface but also for comfortable thumb-typing when fully extended. The etched keycaps can be easily relocated for alternate layouts such as AZERTY or QWERTZ. The keyboard case runs an open firmware, which means that anyone with the know-how can alter existing functions or add new ones. The bottom (keyboard) and top (phone) sections of the assembly are well-balanced thanks to the large, 6000mAh, internal battery capable of charging the PinePhone (Pro) during operation. The internal battery effectively triples the phone's battery life. The internal keyboard battery can be manually toggled on/off and the keyboard's battery charge level can be read in the supported OSes; the keyboard remains functional with the battery fully depleted.

You do not lose access to the PinePhone (Pro)'s USB-C port, speaker, microphone, or any external features, such as volume and lock buttons, with the keyboard attached. There is also a cut-out for the camera, torch, and headphone jack. The USB-C port on the keyboard is capable of powering both the keyboard and PinePhone (Pro) simultaneously. This means that you can plug in a USB mouse, a USB-C dongle, or some other peripheral while the phone and keyboard's internal battery charge. Please keep in mind that the keyboard case transforms the PinePhone (Pro) into a PDA, which means that taking calls will likely prove awkward without a wired or wireless headset connected.

There are more details -- and specifications -- in the linked story.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday January 10 2022, @07:59AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the spherical-cow[l]? dept.

"Invisibility Cloaks" May Soon Be Real: Creating Invisibility With Superconducting Materials:

Invisibility devices may soon no longer be the stuff of science fiction. A new study published in the De Gruyter journal Nanophotonics by lead authors Huanyang Chen at Xiamen University, China, and Qiaoliang Bao, suggests the use of the material Molybdenum Trioxide (a-MoO3) to replace expensive and difficult to produce metamaterials in the emerging technology of novel optical devices.

The idea of an invisibility cloak may sound more like magic than science, but researchers are currently hard at work producing devices that can scatter and bend light in such a way that it creates the effect of invisibility.

Thus far these devices have relied on metamaterials – a material that has been specially engineered to possess novel properties not found in naturally occurring substances or in the individual particles of that material – but the study by Chen and co-authors suggests the use of a-MoO3 to create these invisibility devices.

Possessing some unique properties, this material can provide an excellent platform for controlling energy flow.

[...] As a result, the study shows that hyperbolic materials such as a-MoO3 and Vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) could serve as a new basis for transformation optics, opening the possibility of photonic devices beyond invisibility concentrators, including improved infrared imaging and detection systems.

Journal Reference:
Tao Hou, Sicen Tao, Haoran Mu, et al. Invisibility concentrator based on van der Waals semiconductor α-MoO3 [open], Nanophotonics (DOI: 10.1515/nanoph-2021-0557)


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday January 10 2022, @05:13AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the doing-quantum-pushups dept.

Making quantum computers even more powerful:

Engineers at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) have developed a method for reading several qubits—the smallest unit of quantum data—at the same time. Their method paves the way to a new generation of even more powerful quantum computers.

"IBM and Google currently have the world's most powerful quantum computers," says Prof. Edoardo Charbon, head of the Advanced Quantum Architecture Laboratory (AQUA Lab) in EPFL's School of Engineering. "IBM has just unveiled a 127-qubit machine, while Google's is 53 qubits." The scope for making quantum computers even faster is limited, however, due to an upper bound on the number of qubits. But a team of engineers led by Charbon, in collaboration with researchers in the U.K., has just developed a promising method for breaking through this technological barrier. Their approach can read qubits more efficiently, meaning more of them can be packed into quantum processors. Their findings appear in Nature Electronics.

[...] The number of qubits is currently limited by the fact that there's no technology yet available that can read all the qubits rapidly. "Complicating things further, qubits operate at temperatures close to absolute zero, or –273.15oC," says Charbon. "That makes reading and controlling them even harder. What engineers typically do is use machines at room temperature and control each qubit individually."

Journal Reference:
Andrea Ruffino, Tsung-Yeh Yang, John Michniewicz, et al. A cryo-CMOS chip that integrates silicon quantum dots and multiplexed dispersive readout electronics, Nature Electronics (DOI: 10.1038/s41928-021-00687-6)


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Monday January 10 2022, @02:32AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the woof-woof-bark-miaow dept.

Dogs know when you're speaking a different language -- and talking nonsense:

Dogs know when you're speaking a different language -- and talking nonsense. The idea of being able to speak to creatures in their own distinct language was a thrilling prospect. And then there were veterinarians like Dr. James Herriot and his treasury of tales that showed he truly understood the nature of animals.

Now, while working from home and spending more time with our pets, perhaps we've reached a form of understanding that crosses the linguistic barrier.

[...] But even more fascinating is the idea that we're not entirely different -- that we share things in common, some of which used to be considered strictly human qualities. By recognizing our own traits in animals, we can understand them better.

[There is a video embedded in the story. Here is a similar YouTube video I found on the web.--martyb]


Original Submission

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.

https://medium.com/@_sdc/how-apple-taught-its-users-to-hate-android-through-subtle-design-cues-518cd7eda80

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 phys.org


Original Submission

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

https://www.os2museum.com/wp/unidentified-pc-dos-1-1-boot-sector-junk-identified/

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