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posted by janrinok on Wednesday September 21, @10:16PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the pushing-up-daisies dept.

Human Composting Now Legal in California:

Compared to cremation, turning your body into mulch keeps a surprising amount of CO2 out of the atmosphere.

In a few years, people in California will have a new choice for what to do with their loved ones' bodies after death: put them in their garden.

"AB 351 will provide an additional option for California residents that is more environmentally-friendly and gives them another choice for burial," Assembly member Cristina Garcia, who sponsored the bill, said in a release. "With climate change and sea-level rise as very real threats to our environment, this is an alternative method of final disposition that won't contribute emissions into our atmosphere."

Human beings cause more than enough trouble while we're alive, but the practices we've developed to handle our bodies after death are also pretty bad for the environment. Burying a dead body takes about three gallons of embalming liquid per corpse—stuff like formaldehyde, methanol, and ethanol—and about 5.3 million gallons total gets buried with bodies each year. Meanwhile, cremation creates more than 500 pounds (227 kilograms) of carbon dioxide from the burning process of just one body, and the burning itself uses up the energy equivalent of two tanks of gasoline. In the U.S., cremation creates roughly 360,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.

It's a no-brainer, then, to think of greener alternatives. The most common process for human composting—and the one laid out in the new California law—is called natural organic reduction, which involves leaving the body in a container with some wood chips and other organic matter for about a month to let bacteria do its work. The resulting mulch (yep, it's human body mulch) is then allowed to cure for a few more weeks before being turned over to the family. Each body can produce about a cubic yard of soil, or around one pickup truckbeds' worth. According to Garcia's release, this process will save about a metric ton of CO2 per body.

Related: World's First Human Composting Site to Open


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday September 21, @07:32PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Starlink will ask for exemption to Iran sanctions, says Musk:

Elon Musk has said his satellite internet business Starlink will ask for an exemption to US sanctions on Iran.

The statement was made on Twitter in response to science journalist Erfan Kasraie, who described Starlink's service in the Western Asian country as a "game changer for the future."

Animosity between the States and Iran runs deep with sanctions spanning more than four decades in response to the Iranian nuclear program and the regime's support for what the US deems terrorist organizations.

Iran is most recently in hot water with the US for supplying drones to Russia for use in its invasion of Ukraine, where Starlink has begun supplying antennas and modems to the Ukraine military to improve wartime communications. The US further sanctioned Iran earlier this month after an alleged July cyberattack against NATO ally Albania.

[...] But whether Starlink should get an exemption in Iran, which has been at odds with the United States since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 when the ostensibly modern state transitioned to a theocratic regime, is a complicated matter.

In the unlikely event that a deal with Iran would be greenlit by the White House, Starlink would have to go through the country's government. Considering that the regime controls media and internet access, would it really allow civilians unfettered access to an American satellite network?


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday September 21, @04:50PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

JDK 19: the New Features in Java 19

JDK 19: The new features in Java 19:

Java Development Kit 19, a non-LTS (long-term support) release of standard Java, arrives today as a production release.

Seven features target the release including structured concurrency, record patterns, a preview of a foreign function and memory API, and support for the open source Linux/RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA). All features but the Linux/RISC-V capability are either in preview or incubator phases.

JDK 19 follows the March 22 arrival of JDK 18. Standard Java has been on a six-month release cadence for five years, with JDK 19 being the tenth six-month release.

JDK 19 is available at oracle.com. The production release follows two release candidates and two rampdown phases, dating back to June. The JDK 19 features include:

  • Structured concurrency, in an incubator phase, is intended to simplify multithreaded programming through a structured concurrency API. [...]
  • A preview of record patterns, to deconstruct record values. Record patterns and type patterns can be nested to enable a declarative, powerful, and composable form of data navigation and processing. [...]
  • A preview of a foreign function and memory API, which would introduce an API by which Java programs can interoperate with code and data outside the Java runtime. [...]
  • A preview of virtual threads, which are lightweight threads that dramatically reduce the effort of writing, maintaining, and observing high-throughput, concurrent applications. [...]
  • A third preview of pattern matching for switch expressions and statements, extending pattern matching to switch, to allow an expression to be tested against a number of patterns, each with a specific action, so complex data-oriented queries can be expressed concisely and safely. [...]
  • A fourth incubation of a vector API that would express vector computations that reliably compile at runtime to optimal vector instructions on supported CPU architectures, thus achieving performance superior to equivalent scalar computations. [...]
  • With the Linux/RISC-V port, Java would gain support for a hardware instruction set that is already supported by a wide range of language toolchains. [...]

The port would support the following HotSpot VM options: the template interpreter, C1 (client) JIT compiler, C2 (server) JIT compiler, and all current mainline garbage collectors including ZGC and Shenandoah.[...]

Like JDK 18, JDK 19 is due to be a short-term release, with only six months of top-level, Premier support.

Oracle Releases Java 19 With Seven Significant Enhancements

Oracle releases Java 19 with seven significant enhancements:

Oracle brews Java 19. Mmmm, kinda tastes like RISC-V

In its evangelizing slide deck accompanying this release, Oracle ranks Java as the "#1 language for today's technology trends" and the "#1 language in overall development organizational use." The company also cites consultancy VDC Research's findings that "Java is #1 choice for cloud."

When measured in more general terms, Java ranks #2 or #3 or #5, depending upon which programming language survey gets cited. But programming language popularity alone, however that gets measured, doesn't necessarily build an ecosystem.

Suffice it to say that Java continues to be extremely important to Oracle, to the estimated 10 million Java developers wandering the world, and to 60 billion active Java Virtual Machines (JVMs) that rely on a 27-year-old programming language.


Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

posted by janrinok on Wednesday September 21, @02:06PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Nvidia's powerful H100 GPU will ship in October:

At today's GTC conference keynote, Nvidia announced that its H100 Tensor Core GPU is in full production and that tech partners such as Dell, Lenovo, Cisco, Atos, Fujitsu, GIGABYTE, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, and Supermicro will begin shipping products built around the H100 next month.

The H100, part of the "Hopper" architecture, is the most powerful AI-focused GPU Nvidia has ever made, surpassing its previous high-end chip, the A100. The H100 includes 80 billion transistors and a special "Transformer Engine" to accelerate machine learning tasks. It also supports Nvidia NVLink, which links GPUs together to multiply performance.

[...] Nvidia expects the H100 chip to be used in a variety of industrial, health care, supercomputer, and cloud applications ranging from large language models, drug discovery, recommender systems, conversational AI, and more. Going by the track record of the earlier A100 "Ampere" architecture GPU, analysts believe the H100 chip will likely have a big impact in the AI space. It will also very likely play a role in the next generation of image synthesis models.


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday September 21, @11:22AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

NASA officials say they’re ready to try a new approach to fueling the Space Launch System to prevent the return of leaks that scrubbed an earlier launch attempt even though they are not certain what caused that leak.

Preparations are underway for the Sept. 21 tanking test of the SLS at Launch Complex 39B, with loading of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants into the core stage beginning at around 7 a.m. Eastern. After filling the tanks of the core stage and upper stage, controllers will conduct tests of a “kickstart bleed” of hydrogen into the core stage engines and a pre-pressurization test before wrapping up at about 3 p.m. Eastern.

The main objective of the test is to confirm that repairs to seals in liquid hydrogen lines into the core stage, as well as other changes in procedures, eliminate a significant leak seen in the second attempt to launch the rocket on the Artemis 1 mission Sept. 3. Controllers saw concentrations of hydrogen in the enclosure around the connection at least two times a limit of 4%.

Workers replaced the seals for two liquid hydrogen quick-disconnect fittings. The larger one, 20 centimeters in diameter, has a “witness mark” or indentation associated with foreign object debris, said Mike Sarafin, NASA Artemis mission manager. The size of the indentation was about 0.25 millimeters. “An indentation of that size does provide an opportunity for a pressurized gas to leak through that,” especially hydrogen, he said.

However, later in the call agency officials backed away from the hypothesis that the foreign object debris caused the indentation, noting that no debris was recovered. They even hesitated to conclude the indentation was the source of the leak.


Original Submission

posted by hubie on Wednesday September 21, @08:35AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the buh-bye-night-sky dept.

The imminent launch of a BlueWalker satellite, with a giant phased array antenna, portends a brightening night sky:

The prototype of a new constellation of extremely bright Earth-orbiting satellites is due to launch in early- to mid-September. The AST SpaceMobile company plans to orbit more than 100 of these spacecraft by the end of 2024. Astronomers at the Vera Rubin Observatory and the International Astronomical Union's Centre for the Protection of Dark and Quiet Skies from Satellite Constellation Interference (IAU CPS) are concerned because these new spacecraft will interfere with celestial observations, adding to the problems already caused by other constellations.

The first member of this new group, called BlueWalker 3, will feature a giant antenna array covering an area of 64 square meters (689 square feet). Observers on the ground will see bright sunlight reflected from this structure. After on-orbit tests of BlueWalker 3 are completed, the operational satellites, called BlueBirds, will be launched. BlueBirds may produce even more glaring light pollution since they are significantly larger. The commercial appeal of these satellites is that they will link directly to cell phones without the need of a cell tower. AST SpaceMobile has already secured a license from the Federal Communications Commission to test the prototype.

[...] Other bright satellites are waiting in the wings: 30,000 second-generation Starlink satellites are currently awaiting FCC approval. Like the BlueBirds, the new Starlinks may carry antennas for direct connection to cell phones; the antennas are slightly smaller at "only" 25 square meters, but the satellites would be far more numerous than the BlueBird constellation. That development would be very bad news for astronomy.

BlueWalker 3 is expected to be among the brightest objects in the night sky after the antenna unfolds. Amateur astronomers can help record this satellite's brightness, bringing awareness to bright satellites' effects on our night sky and on astronomy.

[...] Astrophotographers can also play an important role in the study of artificial satellites, by uploading celestial images impacted by satellite streaks to the TrailBlazer website. Meredith Rawls and Dino Bektešević (both at University of Washington) are developing this data archive as part of the IAU's response to the problems posed by spacecraft. Trailblazer stores the impacted images and records selected metadata, so users can search for satellite-streaked images by date, location, and other parameters such as sky position and telescope.

See also:
    AST SpaceMobile video describing the phased array satellite.
    NASA APOD showing satellite streaks over a two hour period.

Previously:
    SpaceX Has Had 'Promising Conversations' With Apple About iPhone Satellite Service
    AST SpaceMobile Gets US Approval to Test Satellite-based Cellular Broadband


Original Submission

posted by hubie on Wednesday September 21, @05:51AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Fossilized vomit tells the tale of an ancient meal:

Around 150 million years ago in what's now Utah, an animal chugged down a small frog and a salamander. It then lost its lunch. Fast forward to modern times, when a team of paleontologists identified and investigated the fossilized vomit, unraveling a mystery along the way.

The researchers published a study on the puke in the journal Palaios late last month. The scientists found frog bones, including some that likely came from a tadpole, and bits from a salamander. "Aspects of this new fossil, relating to the arrangement and concentration of the bones in the deposit, the mix of animals, and the chemistry of the bones and matrix, suggested that the pile of bones was regurgitated out by a predator," Utah State Parks said in a statement on Tuesday.

[...] The fossil site, famous for plant remains, was a pond long ago, home to amphibians and fish. The researchers worked out that a bowfin fish most did the vomiting. It's possible the ancient fish upchucked to distract a predator. Utah State Parks noted the paleontologists jokingly referred to the fossil find as the "fish-puked tadpole."

[...] The researchers hope to find other, similar fossils within Utah's Morrison Formation, a layer of history that also preserves many dinosaur remains. Puke might not seem like the most glamorous paleontology subject, but it's a fascinating (and slightly gross) window into life long ago.

What do you suppose will remain from our world millions of years into the future? [hubie]

Journal Reference:
John R. Foster, Adrian P. Hunt, and James I. Kirkland, SIGNIFICANCE OF A SMALL REGURGITALITE CONTAINING LISSAMPHIBIAN BONES, FROM THE MORRISON FORMATION (UPPER JURASSIC), WITHIN A DIVERSE PLANT LOCALITY DEPOSIT IN SOUTHEASTERN UTAH, USA Palaios, 2022. DOI: 10.2110/palo.2021.058


Original Submission

posted by hubie on Wednesday September 21, @03:03AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the quantum-computers-will-run-our-fusion-reactors dept.

An IEEE Spectrum opinion piece on the current state of quantum computing:

Over the past five years, there has been undeniable hype around quantum computing—hype around approaches, timelines, applications, and more. As far back as 2017, vendors were claiming the commercialization of the technology was just a couple of years away—like the announcement of a 5,000-qubit system by 2020 (which didn't happen). There was even what I'd call antihype, with some questioning if quantum computers would materialize at all (I hope they end up being wrong).

More recently, companies have shifted their timelines from a few years to a decade, but they continue to release road maps showing commercially viable systems as early as 2029. And these hype-fueled expectations are becoming institutionalized: The Department of Homeland Security even released a road map to protect against the threats of quantum computing, in an effort to help institutions transition to new security systems. This creates an "adopt or you'll fall behind" mentality for both quantum-computing applications and postquantum cryptography security.

[...] In my opinion, quantum practicality is likely still 10 to 15 years away. However, progress toward that goal is not just steady; it's accelerating. That's the same thing we saw with Moore's Law and semiconductor evolution: The more we discover, the faster we go. Semiconductor technology has taken decades to progress to its current state, accelerating at each turn. We expect similar advancement with quantum computing.

[...] Let's remember that it took Google 53 qubits to create an application that could accomplish a supercomputer function. If we want to explore new applications that go beyond today's supercomputers, we'll need to see system sizes that are orders of magnitude larger.

Quantum computing has come a long way in the past five years, but we still have a long way to go, and investors will need to fund it for the long term. Significant developments are happening in the lab, and they show immense promise for what could be possible in the future. For now, it's important that we don't get caught up in the hype but focus on real outcomes.

The author points out that some of the larger challenges that need to be addressed are: better devices and high-quality qubits, simple qbit interconnect technologies that do away with the existing multi-wire configuration, fast qubit control and feedback loops, and error correction that an run on a large group of qbits.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday September 21, @12:18AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

While some scientists think that asteroid and comet strikes are the cause of mass extinction events on Earth, new research from Dartmouth points to volcanic eruptions as the key driver.

What killed the dinosaurs 66 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous Period? It has long been the topic of scientific debate, and many researchers have set out to determine what caused the five mass extinction events that reshaped life on planet Earth in a geological instant. Some experts believe that comets or asteroids that crashed into Earth were the most likely agents of mass destruction. Other scientists argue that immense volcanic eruptions were the primary cause of the extinction events. A new Dartmouth-led study published on September 12 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) reports that volcanic activity appears to have been the key driver of mass extinctions.

These new findings provide the most compelling quantitative evidence to date that the link between major volcanic eruptions and wholesale species turnover is not just coincidental. 

According to the researchers, four of the five mass extinctions are contemporaneous with a type of volcanic outpouring called a flood basalt. These eruptions flood vast areas—even an entire continent—with lava in a mere million years. In a geological time scale, that is just the blink of an eye. They leave behind massive fingerprints as evidence—extensive regions of step-like, igneous rock (solidified from the erupted lava) that geologists call “large igneous provinces.”

To count as “large,” a large igneous province must contain at least 100,000 cubic kilometers of magma. (One cubic kilometer is equal to 264 billion gallons or the volume of 400,000 Olympic swimming pools.) For context, the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens involved less than one cubic kilometer of magma. According to the researchers, most of the volcanoes represented in the study erupted on the order of a million times more lava than that.

The research team drew on three well-established datasets on geologic time scale, paleobiology, and large igneous provinces to examine the temporal connection between mass extinction and large igneous provinces.

“The large step-like areas of igneous rock from these big volcanic eruptions seem to line up in time with mass extinctions and other significant climatic and environmental events,” says lead author Theodore Green ’21, who conducted this research as part of the Senior Fellowship program at Dartmouth and is now a graduate student at Princeton.

[...] In fact, a series of eruptions in present-day Siberia triggered the most destructive of the mass extinctions about 252 million years ago, releasing an immense pulse of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and nearly choking off all life. Bearing witness is the Siberian Traps, a large region of volcanic rock roughly the size of Australia.

Volcanic eruptions also rocked the Indian subcontinent around the time of the great dinosaur die-off, forming what is known today as the Deccan plateau. This, much like the asteroid strike, would have had far-reaching global effects, blanketing the atmosphere in dust and toxic fumes, suffocating dinosaurs and other life in addition to altering the climate on long time scales.

On the other hand, the investigators say, the theories in favor of annihilation by asteroid impact hinge upon the Chicxulub impactor, a space rock that crash-landed into Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula around the same time that the dinosaurs went extinct.

Journal Reference:
Theodore Green, Paul R. Renne, and C. Brenhin Keller. Continental flood basalts drive Phanerozoic extinctions by Theodore Green, Paul R. Renne and C. Brenhin Keller, 12 September 2022, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2120441119


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday September 20, @09:30PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the yore-sew-rite! dept.

Your data may be in danger if you use a spellchecker:

If you like to be thorough and use an advanced spellchecker, we have some bad news — your personal information could be in danger.

Using the extended spellcheck in Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge transmits everything you input in order for it to be checked. Unfortunately, this includes information that should be strictly encrypted, such as passwords.

This issue, first reported by JavaScript security firm otto-js, was discovered accidentally while the company was testing its script behaviors detection. Josh Summitt, co-founder and CTO of otto-js, explains that pretty much everything you enter in form fields with advanced spellchecker enabled is later transmitted to Google and Microsoft.

“If you click on ‘show password,’ the enhanced spellcheck even sends your password, essentially spell-jacking your data,” said otto-js in its report. “Some of the largest websites in the world have exposure to sending Google and Microsoft sensitive user PII [personally identifiable information], including username, email, and passwords, when users are logging in or filling out forms. An even more significant concern for companies is the exposure this presents to the company’s enterprise credentials to internal assets like databases and cloud infrastructure.”

Many people use “show password” in order to make sure they haven’t made a typo, so potentially, a lot of passwords could be at risk here. Bleeping Computer tested this further and found that entering your username and password on CNN and Facebook sent the data to Google, while SSA.gov, Bank of America, and Verizon only sent the usernames.

[...] If you’d rather not have your personal data transmitted to Microsoft and Google, you should stop using the advanced spellchecker for the time being. This means disabling the feature in your Chrome settings. Simply copy and paste this into your browser’s address bar: chrome://settings/?search=Enhanced+Spell+Check.

For Microsoft Edge, the advanced spellchecker comes in the form of a browser add-on, so simply right-click the icon of that extension in your browser and then tap on Remove from Microsoft Edge.


Original Submission

posted by hubie on Tuesday September 20, @06:49PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the hints-and-allegations dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

NASA's Perseverance Mars rover has detected its highest concentrations yet of organic molecules, in a potential signal of ancient microbes that scientists are eager to confirm when the rock samples are eventually brought to Earth.

While organic matter has been found on the Red Planet before, the new discovery is seen as especially promising because it came from an area where sediment and salts were deposited into a lake—conditions where life could have arisen.

"It is very fair to say that these are going to be, these already are, the most valuable rock samples that have ever been collected," David Shuster, a Perseverance return sample scientist, told reporters during a briefing.

[...] Further analysis and conclusions will have to wait for the Mars Sample Return mission—a collaboration between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) to bring back the rocks that is set for 2033.

[...] The results showed a class of organic molecules called aromatics, which play a key role in biochemistry.

"This is a treasure hunt for potential signs of life on another planet," NASA astrobiologist Sunanda Sharma said.

"Organic matter is a clue and we're getting stronger and stronger clues...I personally find these results so moving because it feels like we're in the right place, with the right tools, at a very pivotal moment."


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday September 20, @04:02PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the nanoplastics-for-every-organism dept.

A new study from the University of Eastern Finland shows that lettuce can take up nanoplastics from the soil and transfer them into the food chain:

The concern about plastic pollution has become widespread after it was realised that mismanaged plastics in the environment break down into smaller pieces known as microplastics and nanoplastics. It is likely that nanoplastics, due to their small size, can pass through physiological barriers and enter organisms.

Despite the growing body of evidence on the potential toxicity of nanoplastics to plants, invertebrates and vertebrates, our understanding of plastic transfer in food webs is limited. For instance, little is known about nanoplastics in soil ecosystems and their uptake by soil organisms, despite the fact that agricultural soil is potentially receiving nanoplastics from different sources such as atmospheric deposition, irrigation with wastewater, application of sewage sludge for agricultural purposes, and use of mulching film. [...]

Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland have developed a novel, metallic fingerprint-based technique to detect and measure nanoplastics in organisms and, in this new study, they applied it to a model food chain consisting of three trophic levels, i.e., lettuce as a primary producer, black soldier fly larvae as a primary consumer, and the insectivorous fish (roach) as a secondary consumer. The researchers used commonly found plastic waste in the environment, including polystyrene (PS) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) nanoplastics.

Lettuce plants were exposed to nanoplastics for 14 days via contaminated soil, after which they were harvested and fed to insects (black soldier fly larvae, which are used as a source of proteins in many countries). After five days of feeding with lettuce, the insects were fed to the fish for five days.

Using scanning electron microscopy, the researchers analysed the dissected plants, larvae and fish. The images showed that nanoplastics were taken up by the roots of the plants and accumulate in the leaves. Then, nanoplastics were transferred from the contaminated lettuce to the insects. [...] When the fish fed on the contaminated insects, particles were detected in the gills, liver and intestine tissues of the fish, whereas no particles were found in the brain tissue.

Journal Reference:
Fazel Abdolahpur Monikh, Sille Holm, Raine Kortet, et al. Quantifying the trophic transfer of sub-micron plastics in an assembled food chain [open]. Nano Today, 46, 2022. DOI: 10.1016/j.nantod.2022.101611


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday September 20, @01:21PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the more-of-a-muffled-'pop' dept.

Boom's supersonic jet is facing a lack of interest from engine suppliers:

Boom recently lost its jet engine partner for the Overture supersonic jet, and other major engine manufacturers aren't interested in the project either, Insider has reported. After Boom signed an "engagement agreement" with Rolls-Royce for supersonic jet engines back in 2020, the latter announced last week that it had left the project. Now, other major jet engine manufacturers including Pratt & Whitney, GE Aviation, Honeywell and Safran Aircraft Engines have told FlightGlobal they're not currently interested in supersonic aircraft.

Boom said that the project is still on track, though, and that it will soon announce an engine partner. "We can reconfirm our intention to announce Boom's selected engine partner and transformational approach for reliable, cost-effective, and sustainable supersonic flight, later this year." Boom told Insider. The company has 20 airplanes on order from American Airlines and 15 from United. It plans to build build a factory in California and start flying passengers by 2029.

For its part, Rolls-Royce said that "after careful consideration... [we] have determined that the commercial aviation supersonic market is not currently a priority for us and, therefore, will not pursue further work on the program at this time."

Previously: Airlines are Trying to Resurrect the Concorde Era


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday September 20, @10:35AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

YouTube caught drowning viewers in unskippable ads:

YouTube has been serving viewers unskippable ads for years, but recent reports claim that they are becoming longer and more frequent.

Complaining about YouTube ads is a fairly common practice online, but the volume of those complaints has been ticking up lately. For example, last week, a user on Twitter complained to the official YouTube account about the frequency of ads:

YouTube's support team responded, explaining that "this may happen with a certain type of ad format called bumper ads, since they're only up to 6 seconds long." They also suggested that the user send feedback via YouTube's feedback tool.

The implication seems to be that because the bumper ads last six seconds or less, YouTube can force you to watch several of them in a row. Only longer ads, typically those that last 15 to 30 seconds or more, give viewers the option to skip.

[...] As it turns out, this was really an experiment that has since concluded. Here's the statement a YouTube spokesperson sent 9to5Google on Friday:

At YouTube, we're focused on helping brands connect with audiences around the world, and we're always testing new ways to surface ads that enhance the viewer experience. We ran a small experiment globally that served multiple ads in an ad pod when viewers watched longer videos on connected TVs. The goal is to build a better experience for viewers by reducing ad breaks. We have concluded this small experiment.


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday September 20, @07:48AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

NASA's Perseverance Mars rover has detected its highest concentrations yet of organic molecules, in a potential signal of ancient microbes that scientists are eager to confirm when the rock samples are eventually brought to Earth.

While organic matter has been found on the Red Planet before, the new discovery is seen as especially promising because it came from an area where sediment and salts were deposited into a lake—conditions where life could have arisen.

"It is very fair to say that these are going to be, these already are, the most valuable rock samples that have ever been collected," David Shuster, a Perseverance return sample scientist, told reporters during a briefing.

Organic molecules— compounds made primarily of carbon that usually include hydrogen and oxygen, but also at times other elements—are not always created by biological processes.

Further analysis and conclusions will have to wait for the Mars Sample Return mission—a collaboration between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) to bring back the rocks that is set for 2033.

[...] While methane is a digestive by-product of microbes here on Earth, it can also be generated by geothermal reactions where no biology is at play.


Original Submission