2022-01-01 06:02:19 ..
2022-01-22 10:27:28 UTC
2022-01-23 14:31:03 UTC --martyb
We always have a place for talented people, visit the Get Involved section on the wiki to see how you can make SoylentNews better.
Tuesday's projectile was launched from Jangang province, near the North Korean border with China and landed in the ocean between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, its flight covering a distance of more than 700 kilometers (435 miles) and reaching a height of 60 kilometers (37 miles), the statement said.
North Korea said Wednesday that it successfully test-fired a hypersonic missile, according to North Korean state media, making it the third alleged test of such a weapon by the Kim Jong Un regime. Kim attended the launch, state media reported.
Assessment of the test by South Korean and United States intelligence was ongoing, but initial analysis showed Tuesday's test, in which the projectile reached a speed of Mach 10 was of a more advanced weapon than the test North Korea conducted last Thursday, the South Korean Joint Chiefs said.
That test was of what North Korean state media claimed was a hypersonic missile, the second alleged test of such a weapon by the Kim Jong Un regime. However, many experts doubted this claim.
A hypersonic missile actually refers to the payload that a rocket carries aloft. In this case, that payload could be what is called a hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV).
An HGV can theoretically fly as fast as 20 times the speed of sound and can be very manoeuvrable in flight, making it almost impossible to shoot down, according to experts.
Panasonic is reportedly introducing an optional four-day work week for employees, allowing its workers to spend less time working and more time actually enjoying being alive. It's one more small push toward a better world where shorter working weeks are the norm.
Announced during an investor briefing on Friday, Panasonic will offer its workers a third day off per week, with Panasonic CEO Kusumi Yuki noting they may opt to further their studies, volunteer, or even work a side job. Last year, Japan's annual economic policy guidelines revealed the country would encourage employers to adopt four-day work weeks.
"We must support the wellbeing of our employees," said Kusumi, as reported by Nikkei Asia.
Hoping to facilitate better work-life balance in its workforce, the electronics manufacturer is also increasing flexibility by allowing more employees to work from home, and giving them the freedom to turn down job transfers that require them to move. It isn't clear whether these new policies will apply to all employees globally, nor whether hours or compensation will be adjusted to offset workers' reduced days.
Would you prefer a 4 day working week?
Now MIT physicists have detected another kind of hybrid particle in an unusual, two-dimensional magnetic material. They determined that the hybrid particle is a mashup of an electron and a phonon (a quasiparticle that is produced from a material's vibrating atoms). When they measured the force between the electron and phonon, they found that the glue, or bond, was 10 times stronger than any other electron-phonon hybrid known to date.
The particle's exceptional bond suggests that its electron and phonon might be tuned in tandem; for instance, any change to the electron should affect the phonon, and vice versa. In principle, an electronic excitation, such as voltage or light, applied to the hybrid particle could stimulate the electron as it normally would, and also affect the phonon, which influences a material's structural or magnetic properties. Such dual control could enable scientists to apply voltage or light to a material to tune not just its electrical properties but also its magnetism.
The results are especially relevant, as the team identified the hybrid particle in nickel phosphorus trisulfide (NiPS3), a two-dimensional material that has attracted recent interest for its magnetic properties. If these properties could be manipulated, for instance through the newly detected hybrid particles, scientists believe the material could one day be useful as a new kind of magnetic semiconductor, which could be made into smaller, faster, and more energy-efficient electronics.
"Imagine if we could stimulate an electron, and have magnetism respond," says Nuh Gedik, professor of physics at MIT. "Then you could make devices very different from how they work today."
Emre Ergeçen, Batyr Ilyas, Dan Mao, et al. Magnetically brightened dark electron-phonon bound states in a van der Waals antiferromagnet [open], Nature Communications (DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-27741-3)
Citizen scientists have helped researchers discover new types of galaxies, design drugs to fight COVID-19, and map the bird world. The term describes a range of ways that the public can meaningfully contribute to scientific and engineering research, as well as environmental monitoring.
As members of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) recently argued in a Quadrennial Paper, "Imagine All the People: Citizen Science, Artificial Intelligence, and Computational Research," non-scientists can help advance science by "providing or analyzing data at spatial and temporal resolutions or scales and speeds that otherwise would be impossible given limited staff and resources."
Recently, citizen scientists' efforts have found a new purpose: helping researchers develop machine learning models, using labeled data and algorithms, to train a computer to solve a specific task.
This approach was pioneered by the crowdsourced astronomy project Galaxy Zoo, which started leveraging citizen scientists in 2007. In 2019, researchers used labeled data to train a neural network model to classify hundreds of millions of unlabeled galaxies.
"Using the millions of classifications carried out by the public in the Galaxy Zoo project to train a neural network is an inspiring use of the citizens science program," said Elise Jennings, a computer scientist at Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF) who contributed to the effort.
TACC is supporting a number of projects—from identifying fake news to pinpointing structures in danger during natural hazards—that use citizen science to train AI models and enable new scientific successes.
[...] Citizen science is as old as science itself, and yet it has more tricks to teach us, if we can learn to harness it properly. By employing cutting edge computational tools, citizenscience is poised to add even more value to the traditional scientific enterprise.
Less than a year after Verizon and other ISPs forced users to switch plans in order to get government-funded discounts, a new federal program will prevent such upselling by requiring ISPs to let customers obtain subsidies on any Internet plan.
With last year's $50-per-month Emergency Broadband Benefit that was created by Congress, the Federal Communications Commission let ISPs participate in the program as long as they offered the discount on at least one service plan. The FCC said it did so to encourage participation by providers, but some major ISPs drastically limited the subsidy-eligible plans—forcing users to switch to plans that could be more expensive in order to get a temporary discount.
Congress subsequently created a replacement program that will offer $30 monthly subsidies to people with low incomes. The program also specified that ISPs "shall allow an eligible household to apply the affordable connectivity benefit to any Internet service offering of the participating provider at the same terms available to households that are not eligible households." The FCC still has to make rules for implementing the new Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), but that requirement prevented the FCC from using the same one-plan rule that helped ISPs use the program as an upselling opportunity.
ISPs urged FCC to exclude "legacy" plans.
A US man has become the first person in the world to get a heart transplant from a genetically-modified pig. David Bennett, 57, is doing well three days after the experimental seven-hour procedure in Baltimore, doctors say.
The transplant was considered the last hope of saving Mr Bennett's life, though it is not yet clear what his long-term chances of survival are.
"It was either die or do this transplant," Mr Bennett explained a day before the surgery.
"I know it's a shot in the dark, but it's my last choice," he said.
Doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center were granted a special dispensation by the US medical regulator to carry out the procedure, on the basis that Mr Bennett would otherwise have died.
[...] He had been deemed ineligible for a human transplant, a decision that is often taken by doctors when the patient is in very poor health.
Surgeons Successfully Transplant Genetically Modified Pig Heart Into Human Patient
[...] Scientists have tried to save humans with animal organs for decades. One of the most notable attempts occurred in 1984 when doctors grafted a baboon heart into Stephanie Fae Beauclair, an infant born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. The congenital disorder left her body incapable of circulating blood properly. Baby Fae, as she was better known, survived for 21 days before her body eventually rejected the transplanted organ.
According to The New York Times, what makes this latest procedure different is doctors used a heart that had been genetically modified to remove four genes that encode a molecule that causes the body to reject the orphan organ. They also inserted six human genes to make the immune system more tolerable of the foreign tissue. Whether the experiment represents a breakthrough will depend on what happens next. Bennett's body could still reject the pig heart. For the moment, however, he's alive, and doctors are understandably excited about what this could mean for patients.
China made history in 2018 when it landed the Chang'e 4 mission on the lunar surface. The lander deployed a plucky little rover known as Yutu-2, which is still trundling around the far side of the moon—a first for humanity. Late last year, the rover spotted something unusual in the distance: a small square object dubbed the "mystery hut." The rover approached to get a closer look, and sure enough, it's a rock. It has a better name now, though. Say hello to the Jade Rabbit.
The bizarre object appeared on a photo from Yutu-2 in November 2021. The China National Space Administration (CNSA) said it would spend the next several lunar days getting closer to the object to take a closer look. So why are we only hearing about this now? A lunar day is 29.5 earth days, so the reveal is right on time.
Yutu-2 has now traveled just over a thousand meters (3,280 feet). From its vantage a few hundred meters away in November, the mystery hut looked like a small, squat building with a flat roof. The dark spot in the middle gave it the look of a shelter of some sort.
In achieving the data rates required by 6G the most important part of the wireless signal processing enabling terahertz communications is likely to be the digital baseband. This article explores the developments in this area needed to address this.
Over the past 30 years, wireless technology has made tremendous leaps. Devices have become much smaller and are nearly ubiquitous. Dropped calls have become a thing of the past, while high-definition video routinely streams to our devices on demand. While we're aware of the beneficial technological evolutions that have taken place, the most transformational innovations are often those that users can't see because they take place behind the scenes, at the most foundational levels.
As we look to the next decade of 5G and 6G evolution, several emerging use cases will require data rates and bandwidth previously unimaginable, which means focus is now turning to terahertz (THz) communications as a means to achieving this goal. But there are technological challenges the leap to THz communications presents—and one of the most complex is digital baseband processing.
As the component where all wireless signal processing functions are computed, the digital baseband processor is the most computationally intensive part of a wireless system. Within the overall baseband chain, encoding and decoding processes are the most complex blocks that are found in almost every wireless system. To unlock the ultra-high data rates and high-frequency radio communications integral to 5G and future 6G technologies, it is vital to tackle the development of ultra-fast encoding and decoding for the baseband chipset, also known as channel coding, or forward-error-correction (FEC) technology.
And just how fast is ultra-fast? Think faster than 100 Gbps—a hundred times faster than today's 5G speeds. These terabyte-approaching speeds can only be achieved at ultra-high frequencies exceeding 100 GHz and above. This far surpasses the highest frequency millimeter wave spectrum in commercial use today.
Lot's more to discuss in the full article!
From Bleeping Computer
Users of popular open-source libraries 'colors' and 'faker' were left stunned after they saw their applications, using these libraries, printing gibberish data and breaking.
Some surmised if the NPM libraries had been compromised, but it turns out there's much more to the story.
The developer of these libraries intentionally introduced an infinite loop that bricked thousands of projects that depend on 'colors and 'faker'.
The colors library receives over 20 million weekly downloads on npm alone, and has almost 19,000 projects depending on it. Whereas, faker receives over 2.8 million weekly downloads on npm, and has over 2,500 dependents.
But the target of this action wasn't the end user - but the big corporations...
[...] The reason behind this mischief on the developer's part appears to be retaliation—against mega-corporations and commercial consumers of open-source projects who extensively rely on cost-free and community-powered software but do not, according to the developer, give back to the community.
In November 2020, Marak had warned that he will no longer be supporting the big corporations with his "free work" and that commercial entities should consider either forking the projects or compensating the dev with a yearly "six figure" salary.
"Respectfully, I am no longer going to support Fortune 500s ( and other smaller sized companies ) with my free work. There isn't much else to say," the developer previously wrote.
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.