2019-01-01 00:00:00 ..
2019-06-18 11:49:55 UTC
2019-06-19 10:49:57 UTC
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When the PCI Special Interest Group (PCI-SIG) first announced PCIe 4.0 a few years back, the group made it clear that they were not just going to make up for lost time after PCI 3.0, but that they were going to accelerate their development schedule to beat their old cadence. Since then the group has launched the final versions of the 4.0 and 5.0 specifications, and now with 5.0 only weeks old, the group is announcing today that they are already hard at work on the next version of the PCIe specification, PCIe 6.0. True to PCIe development iteration, the forthcoming standard will once again double the bandwidth of a PCIe slot – a x16 slot will now be able to hit a staggering 128GB/sec – with the group expecting to finalize the standard in 2021.
[...] PCIe 6.0, in turn, is easily the most important/most disruptive update to the PCIe standard since PCIe 3.0 almost a decade ago. To be sure, PCIe 6.0 remains backwards compatible with the 5 versions that have preceded it, and PCIe slots aren't going anywhere. But with PCIe 4.0 & 5.0 already resulting in very tight signal requirements that have resulted in ever shorter trace length limits, simply doubling the transfer rate yet again isn't necessarily the best way to go. Instead, the PCI-SIG is going to upend the signaling technology entirely, moving from the Non-Return-to-Zero (NRZ) tech used since the beginning, and to Pulse-Amplitude Modulation 4 (PAM4).
[...] PCIe 6.0 will be able to reach anywhere between ~8GB/sec for a x1 slot up to ~128GB/sec for a x16 slot (e.g. accelerator/video card). For comparison's sake, 8GB/sec is as much bandwidth as a PCIe 2.0 x16 slot, so over the last decade and a half, the number of lanes required to deliver that kind of bandwidth has been cut to 1/16th the original amount.
Previously: PCIe 4.0 to be Available This Year, PCIe 5.0 in 2019
Version 0.9 of the PCI Express 5.0 Specification Ratified
PCIe 5.0 Specification Finalized (yes, that was 3 weeks ago)
Submitted via IRC for Bytram
"Asparagopsis taxiformis -- a red seaweed that grows in the tropics -- in short-term studies in lactating dairy cows decreased methane emission by 80 percent and had no effect on feed intake or milk yield, when fed at up to 0.5 percent of feed dry-matter intake," said Alexander Hristov, distinguished professor of dairy nutrition. "It looks promising, and we are continuing research."
If seaweed feed supplement is a viable option to make a difference globally, the scale of production would have to be immense, Hristov noted. With nearly 1.5 billion head of cattle in the world, harvesting enough wild seaweed to add to their feed would be impossible. Even to provide it as a supplement to most of the United States' 94 million cattle is unrealistic.
[...] "To be used as a feed additive on a large scale, the seaweed would have to be cultivated in aquaculture operations," he said. "Harvesting wild seaweed is not an option because soon we would deplete the oceans and cause an ecological problem."
There are also questions about the stability over time of the active ingredients -- bromoforms -- in the seaweed. These compounds are sensitive to heat and sunlight and may lose their methane-mitigating activity with processing and storage, Hristov warned.
Palatability is another question. It appears cows do not like the taste of seaweed -- when Asparagopsis was included at 0.75 percent of the diet, researchers observed a drop in the feed intake by the animals.
Also, the long-term effects of seaweed on animal health and reproduction and its effects on milk and meat quality need to be determined. A panel judging milk taste is part of ongoing research, Hristov said.
[...] "It is pretty much a given that if enteric methane emissions are decreased, there likely will be an increase in the efficiency of animal production," said Hristov. Seaweed used in the Penn State research was harvested from the Atlantic Ocean in the Azores and shipped frozen from Portugal. It was freeze-dried and ground by the researchers. Freeze drying and grinding 4 tons of seaweed for the research was "a huge undertaking," Hristov said.
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
One of the questions facing any company as it brings a new rocket to market is what to put on top of the booster. After all, things can sometimes go all explodey with inaugural flights. So the first flight of any rocket typically serves as a demonstration mission, to prove via an actual test flight that all of a company's modeling and ground testing were correct. SpaceX famously put Elon Musk's cherry red Tesla Roadster on the first flight of the Falcon Heavy rocket.
Despite a sometimes whimsical payload, however, first flights demonstrate a number of capabilities to potential customers. (In the case of the Falcon Heavy, the rocket's upper stage performed a six-hour coast in space before re-firing its upper stage-engine to demonstrate the ability to directly inject key satellites into geostationary space for the US military.)
As the Austin, Texas-based rocket company Firefly nears the first flight of its Alpha rocket, the company also faces such a payload decision. It has an (undisclosed) customer for the flight, but the smallsat launcher also has some unused capacity for the mission—the Alpha rocket has about twice as much lift as an existing competitor, Rocket Lab's Electron vehicle.
So on Monday, Firefly announced that it will accept some academic and educational payloads free of charge on the Alpha flight. "We've wanted to do something like this on our first flight from the beginning," Markusic said. The payloads will fly to a 300km circular orbit, with a 97-degree inclination.
The initiative is part of Firefly's efforts to make space more affordable for everyone, said company founder Tom Markusic in an interview with Ars. As part of this DREAM program—that's Dedicated Research and Education Accelerator Mission—the company will accept anything from a child's drawing to college experiments, or even a startup company's CubeSat. Applications will be accepted through the end of June, 2019.
-- submitted from IRC
Submitted via IRC for Bytram
A security researcher who disclosed flaws impacting 2 million IoT devices in April – and has yet to see a patch or even hear back from the manufacturers contacted – is sounding off on the dire state of IoT security.
More than 2 million connected security cameras, baby monitors and other IoT devices have serious vulnerabilities that have been publicly disclosed for more than two months – yet they are still without a patch or even any vendor response.
Security researcher Paul Marrapese, who disclosed the flaws in April and has yet to hear back from any impacted vendors, is sounding off that consumers throw the devices away. The flaws could enable an attacker to hijack the devices and spy on their owners – or further pivot into the network and carry out more malicious actions.
“I 100 percent suggest that people throw them out,” he told Threatpost in a podcast interview. “I really, I don’t think that there’s going to be any patch for this. The issues are very, very hard to fix, in part because, once a device is shipped with a serial number, you can’t really change that, you can’t really patch that, it’s a physical issue.”
Marrapese said that he sent an initial advisory to device vendors in January, and after coordinating with CERT eventually disclosed the flaws in April due to their severity. However, even in the months after disclosure he has yet to receive any responses from any impacted vendors despite multiple attempts at contact. The incident points to a dire outlook when it comes to security, vendor responsibility, and the IoT market in general, he told Threatpost.
b-b-b-b-but it is still working!
Permafrost at outposts in the Canadian Arctic is thawing 70 years earlier than predicted, an expedition has discovered, in the latest sign that the global climate crisis is accelerating even faster than scientists had feared.
[...] With governments meeting in Bonn this week to try to ratchet up ambitions in United Nations climate negotiations, the... findings, published on June 10 in Geophysical Research Letters, offered a further sign of a growing climate emergency.
The paper was based on data Romanovsky and his colleagues had been analyzing since their last expedition to the area in 2016. The team used a modified propeller plane to visit exceptionally remote sites, including an abandoned Cold War-era radar base more than 300 km from the nearest human settlement.
Diving through a lucky break in the clouds, Romanovsky and his colleagues said they were confronted with a landscape that was unrecognizable from the pristine Arctic terrain they had encountered during initial visits a decade or so earlier.
The vista had dissolved into an undulating sea of hummocks - waist-high depressions and ponds known as thermokarst. Vegetation, once sparse, had begun to flourish in the shelter provided from the constant wind.
[...] Scientists are concerned about the stability of permafrost because of the risk that rapid thawing could release vast quantities of heat-trapping gases, unleashing a feedback loop that would in turn fuel even faster temperature rises.
No word on whether or not the Wicked Witch of the West had anything to do with it.
Climate change is real, and many would argue the most serious existing threat to humanity. Today, British scientists announced a major new discovery about how climate change is affecting sea levels that will most likely cause climate scientists to reconfigure their projection models. This discovery was made due to the efforts of, ugh, Boaty McBoatface.
[...] Now, as part of the Attenborough's maiden voyage, Boaty McBoatface has made a major discovery, published in the journal PNAS, for which we must unfortunately give it credit. In short, the submersible traversed the waters of Antarctica measuring temperature, salinity, and current. What it found was that increasingly strong winds in the Antarctic are causing cold water at the bottom of the ocean to mix with warmer water from the middle levels. That, in turn, is causing overall ocean temperatures to rise, which contributes to rising sea levels. Previously unaware of this process, climate scientists will now need to adjust their sea-level forecasts.
Cray has won a $50m-plus contract to provide 1 exabyte of ClusterStor storage for Oak Ridge National Laboratory's (ORNL) Frontier exascale supercomputer in the United States.
Frontier is a $600m-plus Cray-AMD exascale system, rated at up to 1.5 exaFLOPS, due to be delivered in 2021 with acceptance in 2022. It will be a follow-on to ORNL's 200 petaFLOPS Summit supercomputer.
Cray won the Frontier bid with its Shasta supercomputer, powered by AMD EPYC processors and Radeon Instinct GPUs in May, so the associated storage contract is not unexpected.
[...] It will have 1 exabyte of ClusterStor hybrid flash and disk storage in 40 cabinets with a direct Slingshot connection to the compute nodes. The ClusterStor nodes will run the Lustre parallel file system with ZFS local volumes all in POSIX-compliant global namespace. The system will output 10TB/sec, four times that of Summit's 2.5TB/sec Spectrum Scale storage.
Cray claimed it will be the largest single filesystem in the world. The flash will be used for high-speed scratch space with the disk being the capacity store. Files will be tiered between the two types of storage and the system is designed to cope with random, small file access and large file streaming. There will be a new software stack for tiering and improved manageability. It will help scaling across both compute and storage.
Let's see here. Kilo, mega, giga, tera, peta, exa, ... How far we have come! My first personal computer had 4 KB of memory and stored programs to cassette tape. These days, most cell phones have at least 8 or 16 GB of storage, often 32 or 64 GB, and one can even buy 1 TB microSD cards. That is not even close to what is mentioned in this announcement. You would need 1,000,000 of these 1 TB cards to provide the storage announced here.
It isn't only young stars that spit high-energy superflares. Older stars, such as the sun, can also send out bursts of energy that could be powerful enough to strip away planetary atmospheres in close orbit, researchers report.
Such superflares can be seen from hundreds of light-years away. Astrophysicists had assumed that only young stars had these outbursts. But a team of researchers has documented superflares erupting from middle-aged stars, each with a similar temperature and radius to the sun. These massive flares can be at least 100 to 1,000 times as powerful as the average solar flares that Earth normally experiences.
But flares from these older stars are rare. "We have found superflares erupting once every 2,000 to 3,000 years in sunlike stars," says study coauthor Yuta Notsu of the University of Colorado Boulder, who presented the findings June 10 at the American Astronomical Society meeting. By contrast, superflares from younger stars erupt much more frequently, about once every few days.
Also at ScienceAlert.
iOS 13's newly expanded NFC support will be useful for more than just hopping on the subway. Germany is taking advantage of the upcoming software's support for Apple-approved NFC identification documents to let residents scan their ID cards and use them both online and for check-ins at international airports. You'll need to wait for both the release of iOS 13 (likely in September) and the German government's AusweisApp2 to make everything work, but this might just save you the trouble of pulling out your wallet to prove who you are.
Submitted via IRC for SoyCow4463
You might not think of your car as a treasure trove of personal data, but it frequently is -- performance data, phone contacts and location info may be sitting under the hood. And the American Civil Liberties Union wants to be sure police can't just take it. The organization is appearing as a friend of the court in Georgia's Supreme Court on June 19th to argue that personal data on cars is protected by the US Constitution's Fourth Amendment and thus requires a warrant. The appearance is tied to a case, Mobley vs. State, where police used a car's "black box" to level more serious charges.
After a deadly car crash, Georgia police downloaded data from the Event Data Recorder on Mobley's car to determine his speed before the crash, using that to level more severe accusations against him. Georgia has contended that this was legal under the Fourth Amendment's "vehicle exception" allowing searches for physical items, but the ACLU believes this doesn't count for digital data. It likened this to requiring a warrant for phone data -- just because the device holding the data is obtainable without a warrant doesn't mean the data is also up for grabs.
The world’s seed-bearing plants have been disappearing at a rate of nearly 3 species a year since 1900 ― which is up to 500 times higher than would be expected as a result of natural forces alone, according to the largest survey yet of plant extinctions.
The project looked at more than 330,000 species and found that plants on islands and in the tropics were the most likely to be declared extinct. Trees, shrubs and other woody perennials had the highest probability of disappearing regardless of where they were located. The results were published on 10 June in Nature Ecology & Evolution1.
[...]The work stems from a database compiled by botanist Rafaël Govaerts at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in London. Govaerts started the database in 1988 to track the status of every known plant species. As part of that project, he mined the scientific literature and created a list of seed-bearing plant species that were ruled extinct, and noted which species scientists had deemed to be extinct but were later rediscovered.
[...]The researchers found that about 1,234 species had been reported extinct since the publication of Carl Linnaeus’s compendium of plant species, Species Plantarum, in 1753. But more than half of those species were either rediscovered or reclassified as another living species, meaning 571 are still presumed extinct.
[...]Even though the researchers carefully curated the plant extinction database, the study’s numbers are almost certainly an underestimate of the problem, says Jurriaan de Vos, a phylogeneticist at the University of Basel in Switzerland. Some plant species are “functionally extinct”, he notes, and are present only in botanical gardens or in such small numbers in the wild that researchers don’t expect the population to survive.
“You can decimate a population or reduce a population of a thousand down to one and the thing is still not extinct,” says de Vos. “But it doesn’t mean that it’s all ok.”
 Humphreys, A. M. et al. Nature Ecol. Evol. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-019-0906-2 (2019).
The housing crisis in the Bay Area, particularly in San Francisco, is a complex and controversial topic with no one-size-fits-all solution — but a check for a billion dollars is about as close as you're going to get, and Google has just announced it's writing one. In a blog post, CEO Sundar Pichai explained that in order to "build a more helpful Google," the company would be making this major investment in what it believes is the most important social issue in the area: housing.
San Francisco is famously among the most expensive places in the world to live now, and many residents of the city, or perhaps I should say former residents, have expressed a deep and bitter hatred for the tech industry they believe converted the area to a playground for the rich while leaving the poor and disadvantaged to fend for themselves.
Google itself has been the subject of many a protest, and no doubt it is aware that its reputation as a friendly and progressive company is in danger from this and numerous other issues, from AI ethics to advertising policies. To remedy this, and perhaps even partly as an act of conscience, Google has embarked on a billion-dollar charm offensive that will add thousands of new homes to the Bay Area over the next ten years.
$750 million of that comes in the form of repurposing its own commercial real estate for residential purposes. This will allow for 15,000 new homes "at all income levels," and while Pichai said that they hope this will help address the "chronic shortage of affordable housing options," the blog post did not specify how many of these new homes would actually be affordable, and where they might be.
Another $250 million will be invested to "provide incentives to enable developers to build at least 5,000 affordable housing units across the market".
They should build an arcology or giant pod hotel.
Also at NPR.
Related: Soaring Rents in Portland, Oregon Cause Homelessness Crisis
City of San Francisco Says It's Illegal to Live in a Box
San Francisco Restaurants Can't Afford Waiters, so they Put Diners to Work
In San Francisco, Making a Living from Your Billionaire Neighbor's Trash
A Rogue Coder Turned a Parking Spot Into a Coworking Space
Submitted via IRC for chromas
You know how when your dog wants something, she makes that face? You know the one - all beseeching, with eyes that seem to positively quiver with longing? You'd give her anything, right?
It turns out that our response to canine looks of longing or love may be the very reason dogs can make them. New research has found that the facial muscles involved in making these expressions can only be found in dogs, not wolves - suggesting our furry best friends evolved the ability specifically to communicate with humans.
"The findings suggest that expressive eyebrows in dogs may be a result of human unconscious preferences that influenced selection during domestication," said behavioural psychologist Juliane Kaminski of the University of Portsmouth.
"When dogs make the movement, it seems to elicit a strong desire in humans to look after them. This would give dogs that move their eyebrows more, a selection advantage over others and reinforce the 'puppy dog eyes' trait for future generations."
[...]For this research, the team did something different: they studied dog (Canis familiaris) behaviour as compared to wolves (C. lupus), and performed a comparative analysis of the facial anatomy of both species.
[...]"To determine whether this eyebrow movement is a result of evolution, we compared the facial anatomy and behaviour of these two species and found the muscle that allows for the eyebrow raise in dogs was, in wolves, a scant, irregular cluster of fibres," said anatomist Anne Burrows of Duquesne University.
"The raised inner eyebrow movement in dogs is driven by a muscle which doesn't consistently exist in their closest living relative, the wolf."
[...]The research has been published in PNAS.
The 53rd edition of the TOP500 marks a milestone in the 26-year history of the list. For the first time, all 500 systems deliver a petaflop or more on the High Performance Linpack (HPL) benchmark, with the entry level to the list now at 1.022 petaflops.
The top of the list remains largely unchanged, with only two new entries in the top 10, one of which was an existing system that was upgraded with additional capacity.
Two IBM-built supercomputers, Summit and Sierra, installed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, respectively, retain the first two positions on the list. Both derive their computational power from Power 9 CPUs and NVIDIA V100 GPUs. The Summit system slightly improved its HPL result from six months ago, delivering a record 148.6 petaflops, while the number two Sierra system remains unchanged at 94.6 petaflops.
The #100 system is at 2.3957 petaflops, up from 1.9661 petaflops in November 2018. The #500 system was at 0.8748 petaflops in November.
Facebook has finally revealed the details of its cryptocurrency Libra, which will let you buy things or send money to people with nearly zero fees. You'll pseudonymously buy or cash out your Libra online or at local exchange points like grocery stores, and spend it using interoperable third-party wallet apps or Facebook's own Calibra wallet that will be built into WhatsApp, Messenger, and its own app. Today Facebook released its white paper explaining Libra and its testnet for working out the kinks of its blockchain system before a public launch in the first half of 2020.
Facebook won't fully control Libra, but instead get just a single vote in its governance like other founding members of the Libra Association including Visa, Uber, and Andreessen Horowitz who've invested at least $10 million each into the project's operations. The association will promote the open-sourced Libra blockchain and developer platform with its own Move programming language plus sign up businesses to accept Libra for payment and even give customers discounts or rewards.
Facebook is launching a subsidiary company also called Calibra that handles its crypto dealings and protects users' privacy by never mingling your Libra payments with your Facebook data so it can't be used for ad targeting. Your real identity won't be tied to your publicly visible transactions. But Facebook/Calibra and other founding members of the Libra Association will earn interest on the money users cash in that is held in reserve to keep the value of Libra stable.