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posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday December 10, @01:32AM   Printer-friendly
from the DIY dept.

Submitted via IRC for chromas

Storing data in everyday objects

Life's assembly and operating instructions are in the form of DNA. That's not the case with inanimate objects: anyone wishing to 3-D print an object also requires a set of instructions. If they then choose to print that same object again years later, they need access to the original digital information. The object itself does not store the printing instructions.

Researchers at ETH Zurich have now collaborated with an Israeli scientist to develop a means of storing extensive information in almost any object. "With this method, we can integrate 3-D-printing instructions into an object so that after decades, or even centuries, it will be possible to obtain those instructions directly from the object itself," explains Robert Grass, Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences.

Several developments of the past few years have made this advance possible. One of them is Grass' method for marking products with a DNA "barcode" embedded in miniscule glass beads. These nanobeads are used in industry as tracers for geological tests or as markers for high-quality food products, thus distinguishing them from counterfeits using a relatively short barcode consisting of a 100-bit code. This technology has now been commercialized by ETH spin-off Haelixa.

It has become possible to store enormous data volumes in DNA. Grass's colleague Yaniv Erlich, an Israeli computer scientist, developed a method that theoretically makes it possible to store 215,000 terabytes of data in a single gram of DNA. And Grass himself was able to store an entire music album in DNA—the equivalent of 15 megabytes of data.

The two scientists have now wedded these methods into a new form of data storage, as they report in the journal Nature Biotechnology. They call the storage form DNA of Things, a takeoff on the so-called Internet of Things, in which objects are connected with information via the internet.

A DNA-of-things storage architecture to create materials with embedded memory, Nature Biotechnology (DOI: 10.1038/s41587-019-0356-z)

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Monday December 09, @11:59PM   Printer-friendly
from the interesting-development dept.

Submitted via IRC for chromas

The Pirate Bay is Trialing High-Quality Video Streaming Links - TorrentFreak

Developments over the past few days indicate that The Pirate Bay may about to fully launch a brand new feature. In addition to traditional magnet links, many titles now feature a subtle 'B' button which allow users to stream movies and TV shows directly in the browser on a new site called BayStream.

The Pirate Bay is well known for its huge database of magnet links which allow users to download most types of content imaginable.

Over the past few days, however, the platform has been adding a brand new feature that will please those who prefer to access movies and TV shows instantly, rather than waiting for them to download.

As the image below shows, in addition to the familiar magnet and trusted uploader icons displayed alongside video and TV show releases, the site also features a small orange ‘B’ graphic.

In some cases (but currently not all), pressing these buttons when they appear next to a video release diverts users to a new platform called BayStream. Here, the chosen content can be streamed directly in the browser using a YouTube-style player interface.

Loading times appear swift when the content is actually available and as the screenshot below shows, the material appears to be sourced, at least in some cases, from torrent releases.

Original Submission

posted by takyon on Monday December 09, @10:32PM   Printer-friendly
from the cryszilla dept.

A Tech Jewel: Converting Graphene Into Diamond Film:

Can two layers of the "king of the wonder materials," i.e. graphene, be linked and converted to the thinnest diamond-like material, the "king of the crystals"? Researchers of the Center for Multidimensional Carbon Materials (CMCM) within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS, South Korea) have reported in Nature Nanotechnology the first experimental observation of a chemically induced conversion of large-area bilayer graphene to the thinnest possible diamond-like material, under moderate pressure and temperature conditions. This flexible, strong material is a wide-band gap semiconductor, and thus has potential for industrial applications in nano-optics, nanoelectronics, and can serve as a promising platform for micro- and nano-electromechanical systems.

Diamond, pencil lead, and graphene are made by the same building blocks: carbon atoms (C). Yet, it is the bonds' configuration between these atoms that makes all the difference. In a diamond, the carbon atoms are strongly bonded in all directions and create an extremely hard material with extraordinary electrical, thermal, optical and chemical properties. In pencil lead, carbon atoms are arranged as a pile of sheets and each sheet is graphene. Strong carbon-carbon (C-C) bonds make up graphene, but weak bonds between the sheets are easily broken and in part explain why the pencil lead is soft. Creating interlayer bonding between graphene layers forms a 2D material, similar to thin diamond films, known as diamane, with many superior characteristics.

[...] The team devised a new strategy to promote the formation of diamane, by exposing bilayer graphene to fluorine (F), instead of hydrogen. They used vapors of xenon difluoride (XeF2) as the source of F, and no high pressure was needed. The result is an ultra-thin diamond-like material, namely fluorinated diamond monolayer: F-diamane, with interlayer bonds and F outside.

[...] "This simple fluorination method works at near-room temperature and under low pressure without the use of plasma or any gas activation mechanisms, hence reduces the possibility of creating defects," points out Pavel V. Bakharev, the first author and co-corresponding author.

Journal Reference:
Pavel V. Bakharev, et. al. Chemically induced transformation of chemical vapour deposition grown bilayer graphene into fluorinated single-layer diamond. Nature Nanotechnology, 2019; DOI: 10.1038/s41565-019-0582-z

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday December 09, @08:39PM   Printer-friendly
from the why? dept.

Documents Show U.S. Officials Misled Public on Afghanistan War

Documents show US leaders misled public on progress in Afghanistan War: report

Senior U.S. officials knowingly lied to the public about their progress throughout the 18-year war in Afghanistan, consistently painting a rosier picture of the state of the war than they knew to be true, according to a cache of documents obtained by the Washington Post.

In private interviews conducted by a watchdog that span the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations—which the Post obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request—U.S. officials frequently acknowledged a lack of understanding, strategy and progress in a war they regularly described publicly as being on the cusp of success.

“After the killing of Osama bin Laden, I said that Osama was probably laughing in his watery grave considering how much we have spent on Afghanistan,” retired Navy SEAL Jeffrey Eggers, a White House staffer in the Bush and Obama administrations, said in a private interview.

Interviewees also describe a deliberate disinformation campaign meant to spin discouraging statistics as evidence the U.S. was prevailing in the war.

“Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible,” Bob Crowley, an Army colonel and senior counterinsurgency adviser to U.S. military commanders in 2013 and 2014, said in an interview.

“Surveys, for instance, were totally unreliable but reinforced that everything we were doing was right and we became a self-licking ice cream cone,” he added.

In 2015, Ret. Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, who served as a top advisor on the war during the Bush and Obama administrations, told government interviewers, “We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing,” according to the Post.

Lute went on to lament the deaths of U.S. military personnel that he blamed on bureaucratic entanglements between the State Department, the Pentagon and Congress.

Also at CNN.

The Afghanistan Papers - A Secret History of the War

A confidential trove of government documents obtained by The Washington Post reveals that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable.

[...]In the interviews, more than 400 insiders offered unrestrained criticism of what went wrong in Afghanistan and how the United States became mired in nearly two decades of warfare.

With a bluntness rarely expressed in public, the interviews lay bare pent-up complaints, frustrations and confessions, along with second-guessing and backbiting.

Original Submission #1, Original Submission #2

posted by martyb on Monday December 09, @07:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the snowballs-chance dept.

Presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders yesterday released a plan to overhaul the US broadband market by breaking up giant providers, outlawing data caps, regulating broadband prices, and providing $150 billion to build publicly owned networks.

[...]Sanders said he would "eliminate data caps and ban throttling" and "instruct the FCC to regulate broadband Internet rates so households and small businesses are connected affordably." This would include a requirement "that all Internet service providers offer a Basic Internet Plan that provides quality broadband speeds at an affordable price."

[...]Sanders' $150 billion proposal includes a Department of Agriculture Rural Utility Service program "to provide capital funding to connect all remote rural households and businesses and upgrade outdated technology and infrastructure, prioritizing funding for existing co-ops and small rural utilities." Sanders said that $7.5 billion should be set aside for tribal areas and that all public housing should provide free broadband to residents.

[...]Sanders also wants the FCC to define broadband as a minimum of 100Mbps download speeds and 10Mbps uploads, instead of the current 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up. Sanders would also "reinstate and expand privacy protection rules," reversing the Trump-era decision to eliminate broadband-privacy rules.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday December 09, @05:20PM   Printer-friendly
from the actions-have-consequences dept.

Russia has been handed a four-year ban from all major sporting events by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).

It means the Russia flag and anthem will not be allowed at events such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics and football's 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

But athletes who can prove they are untainted by the doping scandal will be able to compete under a neutral flag.

[...]Rusada was initially declared non-compliant in November 2015 after a Wada-commissioned report by sports lawyer Professor Richard McLaren alleged widespread corruption that amounted to state-sponsored doping in Russian track and field athletics.

A further report, published in July 2016, declared Russia operated a state-sponsored doping programme for four years across the "vast majority" of summer and winter Olympic sports.

In 2018, Wada reinstated Rusada as compliant after the national agency agreed to release data from its Moscow laboratory from the period between January 2012 and August 2015.

However, positive findings contained in a version courtesy of a whistleblower in 2017 were missing from the January 2019 data, which prompted a new inquiry.

Wada's compliance review committee (CRC) recommended a raft of measures based "in particular" on a forensic review of inconsistencies found in some of that data.

As part of the ban, Russia may not host, or bid for or be granted the right to host any major events for four years, including the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Russia banned for four years to include 2020 Olympics and 2022 World Cup

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Monday December 09, @03:29PM   Printer-friendly
from the year-of-the-linux-desktop-in-China-by-2023 dept.

The Guardian is reporting that the tech war just got hot.

China will be replacing all hardware and software with Chinese equivalents. This is the latest escalation in the US-China tech trade war in response to the US ban on Huawei equipment.

China has ordered that all foreign computer equipment and software be removed from government offices and public institutions within three years, the Financial Times reports.

The government directive is likely to be a blow to US multinational companies like HP, Dell and Microsoft and mirrors attempts by Washington to limit the use of Chinese technology, as the trade war between the countries turns into a tech cold war.

The Trump administration banned US companies from doing business with Chinese Chinese[sic] telecommunications company Huawei earlier this year and in May, Google, Intel and Qualcomm announced they would freeze cooperation with Huawei.

By excluding China from western know-how, the Trump administration has made it clear that the real battle is about which of the two economic superpowers has the technological edge for the next two decades.

China already leads in patents

China's 2016 patent application total is greater than the combined total of patent applications filed in 2016 in the United States (605,571), Japan (318,381), South Korea (208,830) and Europe (159,358). These five jurisdictions accounted for 84 percent of all patent applications filed during 2016.

China has been preparing for an all-out IT war.

In May, Hu Xijin, editor of the Global Times newspaper in China, said the withdrawal of sharing by US tech companies with Huawei would not be fatal for the company because the Chinese firm has been planning for this conflict "for years" and would prompt the company to develop its own microchip industry to rival America's.

"Cutting off technical services to Huawei will be a real turning point in China's overall research and development and use of domestic chips," he said in a social media post. "Chinese people will no longer have any illusions about the steady use of US technology."

US trade policy may have been meant to pressure China, but that move looks to have just forced an acceleration of the loss of software and hardware orders from American suppliers to China.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Monday December 09, @01:56PM   Printer-friendly
from the not-so-green-after-all dept.

The Electrek site has an article on Tesla's new mobile supercharger that uses a container-sized battery to supplement fixed Supercharger locations during peak travel times, but the headline is "Tesla deploys new mobile Supercharger powered by Megapack instead of diesel generators".

The automaker is using its smaller "Urban Supercharger" stalls all around the flat trailer on which they also installed a large Megapack.

Interestingly, owners are reporting that the stalls are capable of delivering 125 kW, which is not quite comparable to the new Supercharger V3, but it is impressive power for a mobile station.

[...] This is awesome. Way better than Tesla's previous mobile Supercharger stations, which were often powered by diesel generators.

However, Tesla still needs to charge those Megachargers, but they can potentially connect them to better energy sources than diesel generators.

It will be interesting to see if Tesla starts using more of these.

An obvious question is, which is more efficient--charging a big battery (one hopes from an efficient and clean power source) and then using that battery to charge a bunch of cars, or, charging the cars directly from a diesel generator (which can be pretty efficient, but nothing like a big fixed power plant)?

Are there any Tesla owners here? Have you come across a diesel supercharger, and how did it feel to hook your cool, quiet car up to a noisy, smelly monster?

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Monday December 09, @12:24PM   Printer-friendly
from the only-a-matter-of-time dept.

Submitted via IRC for chromas

Disney's Decision Not To Renew SecuROM License Bricks 'Tron: Evolution'

Show of hands: who remembers SecuROM? Alright, put your hands down, we can't see each other anyway. So, SecuROM was a really bad DRM used by several publishers to "protect" video games, by which I mean it mostly just annoyed legitimate buyers, got some of those publishers sued, and ultimately made the game unplayable on modern operating systems. The track record is enough to make you wonder why anyone would use DRM at all after this whole debacle.

But... it's still happening. Back in 2010, Disney released the game Tron: Evolution. The game was laced with SecuROM and suffered many of the same problems as previously described. As an example of how you don't really own what you buy anymore, the game simply bricked when Disney decided not to renew its SaaS subscription for SecuROM software.

Players trying to launch Tron: Evolution are now met with a message telling them that the 'serial key has expired'. This applies to the retail version as well as the Steam version which is delisted from the store. The cause of this problem appears to be Disney not renewing their 'subscription' to the SecuROM activation system for this game. This means that even existing owners of the delisted game cannot play it for the foreseeable future.

Fun! Notably, those that pirated the game aren't having this issue. Also notable is that when at least one person opened up a support ticket with SecuROM itself to fix the issue, the SecuROM folks told that person:

"You are right with your assumption, we can't run this service anymore for Disney titles, therefore all activations are denied.

Best would be to contact Disney to get a refund for your purchase or convince them to release an uprotected version of the game."

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday December 09, @10:52AM   Printer-friendly
from the R.I.P. dept.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine actor René Auberjonois, who played Changeling Odo, dies at 79

Prolific actor René Auberjonois, best known for his role as shape-shifter Changeling Odo in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, has died at the age of 79.

The actor died Sunday at his home in Los Angeles of metastatic lung cancer, his son son Rèmy-Luc confirmed to the Associated Press.

Auberjonois also appeared as the character Paul Lewiston in 71 episodes of the TV drama Boston Legal. He is also known for his roles in Benson, The Practice (which earned him an Emmy nod), Stargate SG-1, Warehouse 13, Star Trek: Enterprise, Frasier, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Murder, She Wrote, and The Jeffersons, to name a few.

Auberjonois has starred in numerous films such as director Robert Altman's M.A.S.H. in which he played Father Mulcahy. He appeared in other Altman movies such as McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Brewster McCloud, and Images. Auberjonois also appeared in the 1976 King Kong movie, The Patriot, Batman Forever, and Eyes of Laura Mars.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday December 09, @08:32AM   Printer-friendly
from the bring-out-your-dead...-cells dept.

Ancient worm reveals way to destroy toxic cells in Huntington's disease

Associate Professor Roger Pocock, from the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI), and colleagues from the University of Cambridge led by Professor David Rubinsztein, found that microRNAs are important in controlling protein aggregates, proteins that have amassed due to a malfunction in the process of 'folding' that determines their shape.

[...] MicroRNAs, short strands of genetic material, are tiny but powerful molecules that regulate many different genes simultaneously. The scientists sought to identify particular microRNAs that are important for regulating protein aggregates and homed in on miR-1, which is found in low levels in patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease.

"The sequence of miR-1 is 100 per cent conserved; it's the same sequence in the Caenorhabditis elegans worm as in humans even though they are separated by 600 million years of evolution," Associate Professor Pocock said.

"We deleted miR-1 in the worm and looked at the effect in a preclinical model of Huntington's and found that when you don't have this microRNA there's more aggregation," he said. "This suggested miR-1 was important to remove Huntington's aggregates."

[...] "When you don't have miR-1, autophagy doesn't work correctly and you have aggregation of these Huntington's proteins in worms," Associate Professor Pocock said.

Professor Rubinsztein then conducted research which showed that the same microRNA regulates a related pathway to control autophagy in human cells.

"Expressing more miR-1 removes Huntington's aggregates in human cells," Associate Professor Pocock said.

Explore further

Interferon-β-induced miR-1 alleviates toxic protein accumulation by controlling autophagy, eLife (DOI: 10.7554/eLife.49930)

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday December 09, @06:12AM   Printer-friendly
from the Leave-your-mobile-at-home dept.

While it was once all the rage in London to steal a moped to cruise the streets for a phone to take from a pedestrian, now criminals in Bali are in on the act making brazen daylight thefts of mobile phones, causing serious injuries to tourists. The cost of being medically evacuated from Bali is around $50,000 so a simple theft can result in multiple broken bones and life threatening injuries. After the thefts, phone users are contacted by people pretending to be Apple support to try and scam access to the devices even though they are IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) locked and the accounts have been locked out. In theory, IMEI locking should be sufficient to reduce or prevent this type of crime -- the phone is effectively rendered worthless -- but instead of decreasing, this type of crime is now on the rise.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday December 09, @03:51AM   Printer-friendly
from the SOC-it-to-me! dept.

If you were worried that the Snapdragon 8cx was too powerful, Qualcomm has announced two (mostly) cut-down models: the Snapdragon 8c and 7c:

Qualcomm Windows on Snapdragon: New 7c & 8c SoCs for sub-$800 Laptops

Last year Qualcomm introduced its flagship Snapdragon 8cx platform for premium always-connected PCs (ACPCs) that packed the best technologies that the company had to offer at the time. Being a no-compromise solution, the Snapdragon 8cx was not meant for every ACPC out there, so this week the company expanded the lineup of its SoCs for laptops with the Snapdragon 7c for entry-level machines and the Snapdragon 8c for mainstream always-connected notebooks.

Qualcomm aimed its Snapdragon 8cx primarily at flagship devices ACPCs and therefore maxed out its performance and capabilities, as well as offering the ability to add a 5G modem inside. To day the SoC has won only three designs: the Lenovo 5G laptop (which is yet to ship), the Microsoft Surface Pro X (which uses a semi-custom version called SQ1), and the Samsung Galaxy Book S — all of which are going to cost well over $1000.

In a bid to address more affordable machines, Qualcomm will roll-out its slightly cheaper Snapdragon 8c SoC that is the same silicon as the 8cx, but will feature a tad lower performance. The 7c by comparison is a new chip that will also have a smartphone counterpart, and is aimed at sub-$400 devices, according to analyst Patrick Moorehead. Qualcomm even stated that the 7c is going to target Chromebook equivalents, if not ChromeOS itself.

The 7c supports 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) while the other two chips support 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5).

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday December 09, @01:30AM   Printer-friendly
from the Swan-song? dept.

Intel's CEO Bob Swan is looking beyond CPU market share:

"We think about having 30% share in a $230 billion [silicon] TAM[*] that we think is going to grow to $300 billion [silicon] TAM over the next 4 years, and frankly, I'm trying to destroy the thinking about having 90% share inside our company because, I think it limits our thinking, I think we miss technology transitions. we miss opportunities because we're, in some ways pre-occupied with protecting 90, instead of seeing a much bigger market with much more innovation going on, both Inside our four walls, and outside our four walls, so we come to work in the morning with a 30% share, with every expectation over the next several years, that we will play a larger and larger role in our customers success, and that doesn't just [mean] CPUs.

It means GPUs, it means Al, it does mean FPGAs, it means bringing these -technologies together so we're solving customers' problems. So, we're looking at a company with roughly 30% share in a $288 billion silicon TAM, not CPU TAM but silicon TAM. We look at the investments we've been making over the last several years in these kind of key technology inflections: 5G At autonomous, acquisitions, including Altera, that we think is more and more relevant both in the cloud but also ai the network and at the edge, and we see a much bigger opportunity, and our expectations are that we're going to gain our fair share at that much larger TAM by Investing in these key technology inflections." - Intel CEO Bob Swan

A 30% TAM in all of silicon would mean that Intel not only has more room to grow but is a lot more diversified as well. With the company working on the Nervana processor as well as its Xe GPU efforts, it seems poised to start clawing market share in new markets. Interestingly, it also means that Intel is not interested in defending its older title of being the CPU champion and will actually cede space to AMD where required. To me, this move is reminiscent of Lisa Su's decision to cede space in the GPU side of things to turn AMD around.

Intel's business strategy is now focused on whatever an "XPU" is as well as GPUs, FPGAs, machine learning accelerators, and next-generation memory/storage:

This means the company intends to continue making its heaviest bets in areas such as Optane storage, hardware Artificial Intelligence acceleration, 5G modems, data center networking, and more. The slide that really drives this commitment home comes from Q2's investor meeting that explicitly shows the company moving from a "protect and defend" strategy to a growth strategy. If this slide were in a sales meeting, it wouldn't say much—but delivered to the company's investors, it gains a bit of gravitas.

Most of this was revealed nearly six months ago at the company's May 2019 investor's meeting, but the Q3 investor's meeting last week continues with and strengthens this story for Intel's future growth, with slides more focused on Optane, network, and IoT/Edge market growth than with the traditional PC and server market.

[*] TAM = Total Addressable Market.

Related: Intel Promises "10nm" Chips by the End of 2019, and More
Intel's Interim CEO Robert Swan Becomes Full-Time CEO
AMD Gains Market Share in Desktops, Laptops, and Servers as of Q4 2018
PC Market Decline Blamed on Intel, AMD to See Gains
Intel Chip Shortages - at Least Another Quarter or Two to Go, Say PC Execs
Intel announces $20 billion increase in stock buybacks (from $4.5 billion)
Intel Xe High Performance Computing GPUs will use Chiplets

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday December 08, @11:09PM   Printer-friendly

Luxembourg expands its space resources vision

Étienne Schneider, deputy prime minister of Luxembourg, frequently tells the story of how he got interested in building a space resources industry in the country. His efforts to diversify the country's economy several years ago led to a meeting with Pete Worden, at the time the director of NASA's Ames Research Center and a proponent of many far-reaching space concepts. During an Oct. 22 panel discussion at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Washington, he recalled Worden advocating for commercial space: "Why shouldn't you go for space mining activities?"

"When he explained all this to me, I thought two things," Schneider said. "First of all, what did the guy smoke before coming into the office? And second, how do I get him out of here?"

He eventually bought into Worden's vision, starting a space resources initiative that attracted companies to the country while enacting a space resources law like that in the United States. By the beginning of 2019, though, it looked like it might all be a bad trip. The two major startups in that industry, Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources, had been acquired by other companies with no interest in space resources. Worse, the Planetary Resources deal wiped out an investment of 12 million euros Luxembourg made in the startup.

Schneider is undaunted by those setbacks as he continues work to make Luxembourg a hotbed of entrepreneurial space, a scope that has expanded beyond, but has not abandoned, space resources. During the IAC, the country's year-old space agency signed an agreement with NASA to explore potential cooperation, building on an agreement Luxembourg signed with the U.S. Commerce Department in May. Just before the conference, Luxembourg announced it would partner with the European Space Agency on a space resources center in the country.

The article includes an interview with Schneider.

Previously: Luxembourg Announces Investment in Asteroid Mining


Original Submission