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SLS/Orion mission will launch ...

  • Wednesday, November 16th
  • Saturday, November 19th
  • Friday, November 25th
  • Sometime in December
  • Sometime in 2023
  • Never
  • Other (please specify in comments)

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:13 | Votes:69

posted by hubie on Tuesday November 22, @10:53PM   Printer-friendly
from the server-crash-and-burn-means-something-different-now dept.

The world's ever-increasing reliance on the internet comes at a physical cost. Data centers, which fulfill the vital role of housing and maintaining core computer services and data, are a central element of any operation that relies on digital resources. They're also physically large; as an organization grows, it does, too. Eventually, organizations are forced to consider not only where to put their data centers, but also how to power them efficiently and how to mitigate their emissions.

In recent years, we've started to stick data centers in deserts or in the middle of the ocean. Deserts present few service-disrupting natural disasters and tend to provide plenty of solar power; the ocean, as with Microsoft's Project Natick, helps keep data centers cool. But desert data centers are still land-intensive, and no Earth-based data centers are without their emissions...the key word, of course, being "Earth-based." The European Union thinks it can beat this challenge by sending data centers into space, and it's already working on testing this theory through a $2 million study called ASCEND.

Advanced Space Cloud for European Net zero emission and Data sovereignty (ASCEND) is the brainchild of the EU and Thales Alenia Space, a European aerospace company. The study's goal is to explore the feasibility of placing data center stations in low Earth orbit (LEO). [...]

If ASCEND is successful, the resulting technology could contribute to Europe's goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 under the Green Deal.

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Tuesday November 22, @08:12PM   Printer-friendly

Traffic snarls in some cities can make the trip to or from the airport longer than your flight, but Archer Aviation aims to change that by adding an additional flight. The company's newly revealed Midnight sky taxi is 100 percent electric and capable of ferrying up to four passengers and a minimal amount of baggage from urban centers to airports, and you could book a flight as soon as 2025.

[...] The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) weight and carry-on allowances for passengers are low, just 200 pounds for men and 179 pounds for women. So, there's not much wiggle room in flights with all four passenger seats filled.

[...] Archer says Midnight has been designed to conduct back-to-back 20-mile flights with a 10-minute recharge in between. It has a maximum range of 50 miles and a top speed of 150 miles per hour.

The company's full-scale eVTOL will have a cruising altitude of about 2,000 feet, and it claims noise levels on the ground will be just 45 dBA, which is much quieter than current helicopters. Archer also says that the electric motors in Midnight are safer and easier to maintain than turbine or piston engines used in current airplanes and helicopters.

[...] It hopes to launch its first commercial services in 2025. United Airlines has already made a $10 million down payment on 100 Midnight aircraft, which could help it run its promised Manhattan sky taxi service.

[Ed. ] It will be interesting to see whether their costs and supply/demand work out that this services more than a very small number of wealthy clients.

Slick 90-second promotional video

Original Submission

posted by mrpg on Tuesday November 22, @05:25PM   Printer-friendly
from the hmm-I-don't-know dept.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is not just a nuisance—it's a known carrier of dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya, and Zika viruses. Distinguished by the black and white stripes on its legs, the species is one of the most dangerous to humans.

In the Brazilian city of Indaiatuba, an effort is underway to eliminate these pests before they have a chance to spread illness. The weapon: more Aedes aegypti mosquitoes—but ones genetically engineered to kill their own kind. Made by British biotechnology firm Oxitec, the mosquitoes seem to be working.

The modified mosquitoes carry a synthetic self-limiting gene that prevents female offspring from surviving. This is important, because only the females bite and transmit disease. In a new study, scientists at the company showed that their engineered insects were able to slash the local population of Aedes aegypti by up to 96 percent over 11 months in the neighborhoods where they were released.

[...] The modified males mate with wild females, but the self-limiting gene prevents female progeny from surviving. This gene, which is lab-engineered but based on elements found in E. coli and the herpes simplex virus, causes the female offspring's cells to produce lots of a protein called tTAV. This interferes with their cells' ability to produce other essential proteins needed for development. As a result, the females die off before they mature and start biting. Male offspring survive, carrying a copy of the self-limiting gene that they can then pass on.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday November 22, @02:41PM   Printer-friendly
from the not-just-for-bacteria dept.

So according to NASA humans could be living on the moon, for long periods of time, before the end of the decade. So from more or less nothing to (pre-) colonization in about seven (or eight) years then. At least the moon is closer then Mars, but you are probably still borked if something goes wrong.

"We're going to be sending people down to the surface and they're going to be living on that surface and doing science," Mr Hu said.

"It's really going to be very important for us to learn a little bit beyond our Earth's orbit and then do a big step when we go to Mars.

"And the Artemis missions enable us to have a sustainable platform and transportation system that allows us to learn how to operate in that deep space environment."

Big question then is -- if asked (or given the opportunity) would you go?

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday November 22, @12:34PM   Printer-friendly

Linode have made a further announcement:

We will be performing an emergency service-affecting network maintenance in our US-Central (Dallas) data center from 00:00 (CST) until 04:00 (CST) [(06:00 until 10:00 UTC)] on Wednesday, November 23rd. This maintenance is to address issues identified from the incident that occurred earlier today at our US-Central (Dallas) Data Center. At this time, we believe the root cause is isolated to a single redundant switch pair. During this service-affecting maintenance, customers may see an increased chance of increased latency or packet loss.

Linode is experiencing problems in its Dallas Servers. This is having a knock on effect on our availability so you may experience some site issues. We are aware of the problems but there is nothing we can do.

  • Update - Our Engineers are still performing emergency maintenance in Dallas within our routing environment. We will provide additional updates as soon as possible.
  • Nov 22, 2022 - 12:14 UTC
  • Update - Our Engineers will be performing emergency maintenance within our routing environment to address the connection issues observed in our Dallas Data Center. During this time some customers may observe additional networking traffic issues.
  • Nov 22, 2022 - 11:02 UTC
  • Update - We are continuing to investigate this issue.
  • Nov 22, 2022 - 10:00 UTC
  • Update - We are continuing to investigate this issue.
  • Nov 22, 2022 - 08:52 UTC
  • Update - We are continuing to investigate the connectivity issue affecting our Dallas data center. We will provide additional updates as soon as possible.
  • Nov 22, 2022 - 07:52 UTC
  • Update - We are continuing to investigate this issue.
  • Nov 22, 2022 - 06:49 UTC

[UPDATE: as of 13:54 UTC Linode state that they have completed their recovery work and everything should be working again. JR]

posted by janrinok on Tuesday November 22, @11:56AM   Printer-friendly

For all its possibilities, nature tends to replay one particular scene over and over again: the confrontation between matter and light.

But physicists still don't know the details of what happens when photons meet atoms and molecules. The play-by-play occurs over attoseconds, which are quintillionths of a second (or 10-18 of a second). It takes a special laser that fires attoseconds-long pulses to study such ephemeral phenomena. You can think of the length of a laser pulse a bit like the shutter speed of a camera. The shorter the pulse, the more clearly you can capture an electron in motion. By studying these moments, physicists gain more understanding of a fundamental process ubiquitous in nature.

Last month, physicists at multiple academic institutions in China published results in Physical Review Letters showing that they measured the time it took an electron to leave a two-atom molecule after it had been illuminated with an extremely bright and short infrared laser pulse. While a two-atom molecule is relatively simple, their experimental technique "opens up a new avenue" to study how light interacts with electrons in more complex molecules, the authors wrote in the paper.

[...] In the experiment, the researchers measured how long it took for the electron to depart the molecule after the photons from the laser hit it. Specifically, they discovered that the electron reverberated back and forth between the two atoms for 3,500 attoseconds before it took off. To put that into perspective, that is a quadrillion times faster than the blink of an eye, which takes a third of a second.

[...] In this experiment, the researchers engineered the laser light's polarization to rotate steadily, as though the crests and dips of the electromagnetic field were a corkscrew spiraling through space. That rotation could also track time, like the second hand of a clock. They assumed that, as the laser pulse illuminated the molecule, the electron started to leave it when the pulse peaked in brightness. At that peak intensity, the light would be polarized in a particular direction, according to the sweep of the wave as it rotated. By comparing the angle of the polarized beam to the angle at which the electron was ejected from the molecule, they could measure how long it took for an electron to leave the molecule. Physicists refer to this laser timing technique as the "attoclock" method, as it is capable of measuring durations on the attosecond scale.

atto is 10-18

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday November 22, @09:10AM   Printer-friendly

A global panel of scientists and government representatives have voted to scrap leap seconds by 2035. The ad hoc time adjustment is occasionally inserted to account for the gradual slowdown of the Earth's rotation and has caused headaches for numerous tech companies over the years.

The leap second was introduced in 1972 as a way to adjust Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) roughly every 21 months. As these seconds are irregular and hard to predict due to the varying speed of the Earth's rotation, they can disrupt systems that require precise timekeeping. Meta published a blog post earlier this year calling for leap seconds to be scrapped, highlighting that Reddit went down for around 40 minutes back in 2012 when a new leap second interfered with the company's servers. In 2017, Cloudflare blamed the leap second for its DNS service going down on New Year's Day, precisely at midnight UTC.

As reported by The New York Times, member states of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures almost unanimously voted in support of Resolution D at a meeting in Versailles, France, on Friday. Resolution D calls for UTC to go uninterrupted by leap seconds from 2035 until at least 2135, during which it's hoped that scientists can develop a better system for keeping atomic and astronomical time scales in sync.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday November 22, @06:24AM   Printer-friendly

Lab-Grown Meat Moves One Step Closer to Reality With FDA Green Light

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has moved one step closer to allowing sales of laboratory cultured meat products, announcing it has completed a pre-market consultation with Upside Foods. The company says its lab-grown chicken is safe to eat, and now the FDA has agreed. Upside Foods can now begin the process of getting products certified for sale to consumers, but instead of perusing a slaughterhouse, government regulators will be inspecting a shiny lab filled with vats of cultured chicken cells.

Upside Foods says it was among the first startups to tackle lab-grown meat when it was founded in 2015. It spent the last seven years developing its production technology and accepting funding to keep the lights on, including a huge $400 million Series C round earlier this year. In its statements to the FDA, Upside Foods claimed there is no reason to expect chicken cells cultured in its production facility are any less safe than the cells growing inside chickens. After a year of study, the FDA now believes Upside has enough data to support that claim.

This is an important milestone, but it's not the same as giving Upside the green light to stuff consumers full of lab-grown animal cells. The company will have to go through the same inspection system as traditional food producers, including granting access to USDA officials who will ensure materials for human consumption meet safety standards. The FDA says it will work with the USDA as these products come to market to develop effective regulations and labeling requirements.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday November 22, @03:33AM   Printer-friendly
from the lending-a-robotic-hand dept.

NRL Engineers Ready Innovative Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) Payload for Launch:

Engineers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory's (NRL) Naval Center for Space Technology (NCST) recently completed robotic payload component level testing for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) program.

Once on-orbit, the RSGS robotic servicing vehicle will inspect and service satellites in Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO), where hundreds of satellites provide communications, weather monitoring, support national security missions, and other vital functions.

The RSGS program is a public-private partnership between DARPA and Northrop Grumman's SpaceLogistics subsidiary, with NRL developing the robotic servicing payload.

[...] The RSGS payload includes flight hardware components, robotic control algorithms, multiple highly customized electronics designs, and flight software running on five single-board computers. NRL also specified and procured two dexterous seven-degree-of-freedom robotic arms, outfitting them with control electronics, cameras, lights, and a robotic tool changer.

Additionally, NRL developed the robotic tool to grapple customer satellites via their standard launch vehicle interface and procured another tool to capture resupply elements that are compatible with DARPA's Payload Orbital Delivery (POD) design standard.

[...] During TVAC testing, the robotic arm system demonstrated performance over temperatures representing actual on-orbit conditions. Under the harsh temperature and vacuum conditions of space, the robot arm performed a variety of operations including running pre-planned robotic calibration movements, tool actuation, and camera and light functions.

[...] The flight software team is preparing to start qualification testing. Testing takes place in a software testbed with a real-time dynamic simulation that generates simulated robot arm pose inputs for the robotic control algorithms and dynamic imagery for input into machine vision algorithms. This testbed allows the NRL team to test the flight algorithms with realistic control loops to fully verify the system thoroughly before launch.

Brief video of robotic arm testing

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Tuesday November 22, @12:51AM   Printer-friendly
from the make-the-internet-a-little-bit-more-safe-each-day dept.

The publication of Top Zeus Botnet Suspect "Tank" Arrested in Geneva from Brian Krebs as usual gives some insight of the inner working of such "organizations":

Vyacheslav "Tank" Penchukov, the accused 40-year-old Ukrainian leader of a prolific cybercriminal group that stole tens of millions of dollars from small to mid-sized businesses in the United States and Europe, has been arrested in Switzerland, according to multiple sources.

Penchukov was named in a 2014 indictment by the U.S. Department of Justice as a top figure in the JabberZeus Crew, a small but potent cybercriminal collective from Ukraine and Russia that attacked victim companies with a powerful, custom-made version of the Zeus banking trojan.

What impresses me the most is that he [Krebs] did volunteer work with alerting affected victims as early as possible. I will not spoil more details here, you have to read his publication for yourself.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Monday November 21, @10:07PM   Printer-friendly

The UK's secretary of state for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has ordered that the Chinese owner of the Newport Wafer Fab sell off its interest in the facility on grounds of national security.

Secretary Grant Shapps on Wednesday published an order [PDF] in which he explained ownership of the facility represents a national security risk as:

i. technology and know-how that could result from a potential reintroduction of compound semiconductor activities at the Newport site, and the potential for those activities to undermine UK capabilities; and ii. the location of the site could facilitate access to technological expertise and know-how in the South Wales Cluster ("the Cluster"), and the links between the site and the Cluster may prevent the Cluster being engaged in future projects relevant to national security.

The Newport Wafer Fab is the UK's largest chipmaking facility. In July 2021 it was sold for £63 million ($111,500,000) to Dutch company Nexperia, which itself became a subsidiary of Chinese outfit Wingtech Technology in 2018.

News of the sale to Nexperia saw then-prime minister Boris Johnson promise to a conduct a national security investigation into the takeover. That probe led to a damning report titled "Sovereignty for sale: follow-up to the acquisition of Newport Wafer Fab" and allegations that the probe ordered by Johnson had amounted to nothing. A full assessment under the National Security and Investment Act was then instigated, with the result that Shapps has now ordered Nexperia to sell at least 86 percent of the Newport facility.

Nexperia has published a statement condemning the decision.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Monday November 21, @07:22PM   Printer-friendly

Late in the evening of February 28, 2021, a coal-dark space rock about the size of a soccer ball fell through the sky over northern England. The rock blazed in a dazzling, eight-second-long streak of light, split into fragments and sped toward the Earth. The largest piece went splat in the driveway of Rob and Cathryn Wilcock in the small, historic town of Winchcombe.

An analysis of those fragments now shows that the meteorite came from the outer solar system, and contains water that is chemically similar to Earth's, scientists report November 16 in Science Advances. How Earth got its water remains one of science's enduring mysteries. The new results support the idea that asteroids brought water to the young planet (SN: 5/6/15).

[...] "It's as pristine as we're going to get from a meteorite," King says. "Other than it landing in the museum on my desk, or other than sending a spacecraft up there, we can't really get them any quicker or more pristine."

After collecting about 530 grams of meteorite from Winchcombe and other sites, including a sheep field in Scotland, King and colleagues threw a kitchen sink of lab techniques at the samples. The researchers polished the material, heated it and bombarded it with electrons, X-rays and lasers to figure out what elements and minerals it contained.

[...] The meteorite is a type of rare, carbon-rich rock called a carbonaceous chondrite, the team found. It came from an asteroid near the orbit of Jupiter, and got its start toward Earth around 300,000 years ago, a relatively short time for a trip through space, the researchers calculate.

Chemical analyses also revealed that the meteorite is about 11 percent water by weight, with the water locked in hydrated minerals. Some of the hydrogen in that water is actually deuterium, a heavy form of hydrogen, and the ratio of hydrogen to deuterium in the meteorite is similar to that of the Earth's atmosphere. "It's a good indication that water [on Earth] was coming from water-rich asteroids," King says.

Researchers also found amino acids and other organic material in the meteorite pieces. "These are the building blocks for things like DNA," King says. The pieces "don't contain life, but they have the starting point for life locked up in them."

A. King et al. The Winchcombe meteorite, a unique and pristine witness from the outer solar system. Science Advances. Published online November 16, 2022. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abq3925.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Monday November 21, @04:38PM   Printer-friendly
from the one-at-the-time dept.

Last week Bruce Schneier published An Untrustworthy TLS Certificate in Browsers and now Ian Carroll has published Security concerns with the e-Tugra certificate authority.

Ian is best known for the death of the EV (Extended Validation) certificates. He legally registered a colliding entity name and then got an EV certificate for his site As this site is not online any more, a good write up of this is Extended Validation Certificates are (Really, Really) Dead by Troy Hunt.

Troy Hunt is also known for his website ';--have i been pwned?.

Schneier suggests that it might be time to disable / remove trust for the following Certificate Authorities (CAs):

  • TrustCor
  • E-Tugra

Cory Doctorow gives a very good explanation the the problem in general and its causes here. Basically, we are just too trusting and we believe that others are looking after our interests. It appears that they are not.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Monday November 21, @01:54PM   Printer-friendly
from the burn-baby-burn dept.

There's a change in behavior when the plasma starts burning, and nobody knows why:

[...] Now, researchers have analyzed the properties of the plasma as it experiences these high-energy states. And to their surprise, they found that burning plasmas appear to behave differently from those that have experienced ignition. At the moment, there's no obvious explanation for the difference.

In the experiments, the material being used for fusion is a mix of tritium and deuterium, two heavier isotopes of hydrogen. These combine to produce a helium atom, leaving a spare neutron that's emitted; the energy of the fusion reaction is released in the form of a gamma ray.

The fusion process is triggered by a short, extremely intense burst of laser light that targets a small metallic cylinder. The metal emits intense X-rays, which vaporize the surface of a nearby pellet, creating an intense wave of heat and pressure on the pellet's interior, where the deuterium and tritium reside. These form a very high-energy plasma, setting the conditions for fusion.

If everything goes well, the energy imparted ignites the plasma, meaning that no additional energy is needed for the fusion reactions to continue for the tiny fraction of a second that passes before the whole thing blows apart. At even higher energies, the plasma reaches a state called burning, where the helium atoms that are forming carry so much energy that they can ignite the nearby plasma. This is considered critical because it means the rest of the energy (in the form of neutrons and gamma rays) can potentially be harvested to produce useful power.

While we have detailed models of the physics that goes on under these extreme conditions, we need to compare those models to what's going on inside the plasma. Unfortunately, given that both the plasma and the materials that formerly surrounded it are in the process of exploding, that's a significant challenge. To get a picture of what might be going on, researchers have turned to one of the products of the fusion reaction: the neutrons it emits, which can pass through the wreckage and be picked up by nearby detectors.

Hartouni, E.P., Moore, A.S., Crilly, A.J. et al. Evidence for suprathermal ion distribution in burning plasmas. Nat. Phys. (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41567-022-01809-3 (About DOIs).

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Monday November 21, @11:10AM   Printer-friendly

India follows EU's example in requiring USB-C charging for smart devices

India is on a path to require USB-C charging ports in almost all smart devices following actions taken by an inter-ministerial task force.

Rohit Kumar Sing, Secretary of the Department of Consumer Affairs, said the move is "in the interest of consumer welfare and prevention of avoidable e-waste."

The broad consensus in the meeting was that USB-C would be required for electronic devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops – but "feature phones" could end up with a different charging option. A sub-committee was formed to determine the fate of wearable devices.

But things won't change overnight. The move toward USB-C will be done in phases to ensure industry and consumers alike have time to adapt.

Previously: USB-C to be Mandatory for Phones Sold in the EU by Autumn 2024
UK Will Not Copy EU Demand for Common Charging Cable
Apple to Put USB-C Connectors in iPhones to Comply With EU Rules

Original Submission