2022-07-02 10:17:28 ..
2022-09-19 19:08:07 UTC
2022-09-26 12:53:59 UTC --fnord666
We always have a place for talented people, visit the Get Involved section on the wiki to see how you can make SoylentNews better.
It's widely understood that animals such as salmon, butterflies and birds have an innate magnetic sense, allowing them to use the Earth's magnetic field for navigation to places such as feeding and breeding grounds.
But scientists have struggled to determine exactly how the underlying sensory mechanism for magnetic perception actually works.
[...] "Finding magnetic receptors is like trying to find a needle in haystack. This work paves the way to make the 'needle' glow really bright so we can find and understand receptor cells more easily," [lead author Renee ] Bellinger said.
[...] The findings have the potential for widespread application, from improving salmon management through better understanding of how they use the ocean to targeted medical treatments based on magnetism, said coauthor Michael Banks, a fisheries genomics, conservation and behavior professor at Oregon State.
"Salmon live a hard and fast life, going out to the ocean to specific areas to feed and then coming back to their original spawning grounds where they die. They don't have the opportunity to teach their offspring where to go, yet the offspring still somehow know where to go," [coauthor Michael] Banks said. "If we can figure out the way animals such as salmon sense and orient, there's a lot of potential applications for helping to preserve the species, but also for human applications such as medicine or other orientation technology."
Bellinger's work built on research from more than 20 years ago by Michael Walker of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, who initially traced magnetic sensing to tissue in the noses of trout.
"[Michael Walker of the University of Auckland in New Zealand] had narrowed it down to magnetite in the olfactory rosette," Bellinger said. "We were expecting to see chains of crystals in the noses of salmon, similar to how magnetite-producing bacteria grow chains of crystals and use them as a compass needle. But it turns out the individual crystals are organized in compact clusters, like little eggs. The configuration was different than the original hypothesis."
The form in which magnetite appears, as tiny crystals inside specialized receptor cells, represents biomineralization, or the process by which living organisms produce minerals. The similarity between magnetite crystals of bacteria and fish suggests that they share a common evolutionary genetic history, Bellinger said.
[...] Under these "use it or lose it" regulations, prior to the pandemic carriers had to utilise at least 80pc of their scheduled take-off and landing slots.
This was revised to 50pc as coronavirus saw travel become increasingly difficult – but airlines are still struggling to hit this target.
As a result of Lufthansa Group's latest figures, the Belgian federal government has written to the European Commission, calling for a change to the rules on maintaining slots.
We are now producing more food more efficiently than ever, and there is plenty to go around for a human population of 7 billion. But it is coming at a drastic cost in environmental degradation, and the bounty is not reaching many people.
Sustainable Food Production, a new Earth Institute primer from Columbia University Press, explores how modern agriculture can be made more environmentally benign, and economically just. With population going to maybe 10 billion within 30 years, the time to start is now, the authors say.
This is an interesting interview with the author. Do you agree (or disagree) with his conclusions?
[Also Covered By]: Phys.org
It happens that, after lying for a while in a way that puts pressure on a nerve in your arm, you do not feel the arm anymore, you cannot perceive its location and size, and it feels like it does not belong to your own body. If this condition lasts for years, the representation of the upper limb in the brain is chronically distorted. This body representation disorder is a neurological disorder and is one of the more prominent long-term consequences of stroke. It severely affects how people use their body in the environment to move, act and sense.
Stroke patients report a wide range of symptoms, like being unable to embody their own arm. They also report symptoms like being unable to control the muscles in their arms and hands, being unable to finely modulate grasp force while holding an object, and difficulty in perceiving their arms and hands in general.
If left untreated, sensory and body representation deficits may lead patients to perceive the affected limb as shorter, less sensitive, less responsive, and eventually even to 'forget` it.
In the EU, stroke is the leading cause of adult disability according to a 2020 study, and Covid has worsened the scenario. The number of patients with stroke requiring long term assistance and rehabilitation has dramatically increased since the outbreak of Covid-19, as well as flu-related strokes in young people. While some stroke survivors will recover, impairment of the upper limbs can become chronic and seriously affect the behaviour of the patient in up to 75% of stroke patients.
[...] Now, a consortium of neuroscientists, clinicians and neuroengineers, [...] has shown that carefully tuned electrical stimulation of the neuromuscular system, combined with current rehabilitation practices are promising for recovering upper limb control and embodiment in stroke patients with long-term disabilities. The details of their neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) protocols tested on 45 chronic stroke patients are published today in MED, the new clinical and translational journal of the CELL editorial family. The project has been funded by CARIGEST and the CARIPLO foundation.
"Our approach has the potential to facilitate neurorehabilitative interventions that target multiple perceptual domains, including tactile acuity, perceived body size, distorted feelings of the arm, and consequently, restored use of the arm," explains first author Andrea Crema. He continues, "Our approach reduced the perceptual dissociation of the affected limb, that's why it's so important to pursue targeted electrical stimulation of the muscles in chronic stroke survivors, and to personalize the treatment to counter specific deficits."
[...] The scientists are currently working on a new system able to provide finer levels of motor and sensory stimulation, and with broader varieties of stimulation.
Andrea Crema, Michela Bassolino, Eleonora Guanziroli, et al. Neuromuscular electrical stimulation restores upper limb sensory-motor functions and body representations in chronic stroke survivors., (DOI: 10.1016/j.medj.2021.12.001)
Like humans, female dolphins have a functional clitoris, according to a study appearing January 10 in the journal Current Biology. The findings are based on the discovery that the clitoris-like structure positioned in the vaginal entrance of bottlenose dolphins has lots of sensory nerves and erectile bodies.
"The dolphin clitoris has many features to suggest that it functions to provide pleasure to females," says first author Patricia Brennan, an assistant professor of biological sciences at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts.
Scientists have known that dolphins are highly social. They have sex throughout the year as a way of forging and maintaining social bonds. It had been noted also that dolphin females have a clitoris in the vagina in a spot that would make stimulation during copulation likely. There've also been reports of females rubbing each other's clitorises with their snouts, flippers, and flukes.
[...] Patricia Brennan: I have been collaborating with a researcher who was studying vaginas in dolphins. Dolphins have very complicated vaginas, which contain many folds. The hypothesis was that these folds were there to exclude salt water during copulation, because it is supposed to be lethal to mammalian sperm. But nobody had actually ever really studied these folds or tried to test the idea.
We haven't been able to pinpoint exactly why they are that way. But when we dissected the vaginas, I would look at these clitorises and be just amazed. I was like: "Oh my gosh, these are pretty big, well-developed clitorises." And I thought that might be something interesting to look at.
[...] Are dolphins really having sex all the time? Are they more sexually active than other animals?
We don't really know if they are having more sex than other marine mammals. It's really hard to study sexual behaviour in cetaceans because they're out there [in the ocean]. But bottlenose dolphins live close to the shore, where scientists can go out on their boats and study them. They see them having sex year-round, even when the females are not receptive, so not ready to get pregnant and have babies.
And not only do they have sex all the time, they have a lot of homosexual sex as well. The females will rub each other's clitorises with their snouts and their flippers really often. It's not like every once in a blue moon you'll see females stimulating each other, it's actually pretty common. Females also masturbate.
If they're out there seeking all these sexual experiences, it's likely that it's probably feeling good.
Patricia L.R. Brennan, Jonathan R. Cowart, Dara N. Orbach. Evidence of a functional clitoris in dolphins, Current Biology (DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2021.11.020)
Take-Two Interactive just announced its intent to buy FarmVille developer Zynga for $12.7 billion in what could be the biggest acquisition in video game history. It's an absolutely massive deal; to put it in perspective, the acquisition would be $5 billion more than Microsoft's $7.5 billion purchase of the parent company of Skyrim maker Bethesda Softworks. You could throw in the money Disney paid for Lucasfilm and still have cash left over.
So what is Take-Two getting for its money? Yes, big Zynga games like FarmVille, Words With Friends, and High Heels! will join Take-Two's own roster of franchises that includes Grand Theft Auto, NBA 2K, and Civilization. But perhaps more importantly, Take-Two will now be able to use Zynga's expertise building hugely popular free-to-play mobile titles so it can make new hit games based on its own properties. In fact, Zynga will be the new brand for Take Two's mobile efforts, and current Zynga CEO Frank Gibeau will lead that organization, indicating the potential direction of Take Two's mobile future.
Developers across the industry have been bringing big franchises to mobile and earning a lot of money doing so. PUBG Mobile was the top-grossing mobile game worldwide in November 2021, earning "close to" $254 million, according to Sensor Tower. League of Legends: Wild Rift, the mobile-optimized version of the hit PC MOBA, was in the top ten for App Store revenue that same month. Pokémon Go brought in more than $5 billion in revenue as of its five-year birthday in July, Sensor Tower reported. The Tencent-owned studio that makes Call of Duty: Mobile reportedly earned $10 billion in 2020.
For years, printers have been encumbered with digital rights management systems that prevent users from buying third-party ink and toner cartridges. Printer companies have claimed that their chip-enabled cartridges can "enhance the quality and performance" of their equipment, provide the "best consumer experience," and "protect [the printers] from counterfeit and third-party ink cartridges."
[...] "Due to the worldwide continuing shortage of semiconductor components, Canon is currently facing challenges in procuring certain electronic components that are used in our consumables for our multifunction printers (MFP)," a Canon support website says in German. "In order to ensure a continuous and reliable supply of consumables, we have decided to supply consumables without a semiconductor component until the normal supply takes place again."
[...] But Canon has been having a hard time getting chips amid the shortage, so the company is telling owners of its imageRUNNER large-office printers how to defeat its own protections against cartridges that don't have chips.
The software on these printers comes with a relatively simple way to defeat the chip checks. Depending on the model, when an error message occurs after inserting toner, users can press either "I Agree," "Close," or "OK." When users press that button, the world does not end. Rather, Canon says users may find that their toner cartridge doesn't give them a low-toner warning before running empty.
SonicWall has confirmed today that some of its Email Security and firewall products have been hit by the Y2K22 bug, causing message log updates and junk box failures starting with January 1st, 2022.
The company says that email users and administrators will no longer be able to access the junk box or un-junk newly received emails on affected systems.
They will also no longer be able to trace incoming/outgoing emails using the message logs because they're no longer updated.
On January 2nd, SonicWall deployed updates to North American and European instances of Hosted Email Security, the company's cloud email security service.
It also released fixes for its on-premises Email Security Appliance (ES 10.0.15) and customers using firewalls with the Anti-Spam Junk Store functionality toggled on (Junk Store 7.6.9).
To upgrade to the latest Junk Store version, admins have to download and deploy the Junk Store 7.6.9 installer "posted under SonicOS 6.5.x firmware in MySonicWall downloads section for TZ, NSA, and SOHO platforms" (SonicOS 7.x is not impacted).
The same bug hit Microsoft and Honda
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?
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)
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."
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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)
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."
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)