2021-01-01 06:28:29 ..
2021-05-13 17:13:07 UTC
2021-05-14 12:33:51 UTC --martyb
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Rocket Lab's Electron rocket failed to reach orbit after suffering an unexpected engine shutdown mid-flight on Saturday, losing the mission's payload of two satellites, the company said. The launch from New Zealand was Electron's 20th, and marked the company's second mission failure in less than a year.
Electron, a roughly six-story tall rocket with two booster stages, lifted off from Rocket Lab's Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand at 7:11AM ET on Saturday, aiming to send a pair of Earth observation satellites for BlackSky into orbit. Two and a half minutes into flight, the rocket's second stage booster successfully separated from its first stage and ignited for a few seconds before shutting down, indicating a problem as seen on the company's launch live stream. Mission control lost telemetry of the booster shortly after.
"An issue was experienced during today's launch, resulting in the loss of the mission," Rocket Lab tweeted after the failure. "We are deeply sorry to our launch customers BlackSky and Spaceflight. The issue occurred shortly after stage two ignition. More information will be provided as it becomes available."
A secondary objective for the mission, dubbed "Running Out Of Toes," involved a test of some hardware upgrades meant to improve Electron's reusability, including a new heat shield for the booster's reentry. The rocket's first stage booster successfully splashed down in the ocean under parachutes as planned after lofting the second stage toward space, Rocket Lab said in a statement.
Also at TechCrunch.
Previously: After a Second Stage Failure, Rocket Lab Loses Seven Satellites
Rocket Lab Will Resume Missions in August Following Launch Failure
Rocket Lab Plans to Go Public, Announces Much Larger "Neutron" Rocket
Corsair has put together a DDR5 primer (PDF) that discusses the next-gen RAM standard and what to expect. The biggest thing is an increase in bandwidth. The burst length, or how many bits of data can be read per cycle, has been doubled on DDR5 to 16 bits. That equates to 32 bits per channel and a full cache line of 64 bits total per module, for double data rate (DDR) memory.
[...] Corsair is also hoping to put latency concerns to bed. DDR5 kits have higher CAS latencies compared to DDR4, but according to Corsair, this is offset by DDR5's design, and specifically by splitting modules into two separate channels to allow for shorter traces.
"Individual modules are split into two separate channels by design, allowing for shorter traces that contribute to less latency and higher speeds when it comes to communicating with individual memory ICs on a memory module. This also allows for what's referred to as command/address mirroring since the signal from the CPU has to travel a shorter overall path to access specific banks of memory whereas in DDR4 a command/address signal had to travel through all banks of memory in a longer chain," Corsair explains.
DDR4 is different, in that whenever there is a need to refresh a single memory bank, the CPU sits there and waits for all memory banks to be refreshed before reading or writing from RAM. So even though the CAS latency of a DDR5 kit is higher than DDR4, the overall latency of a higher performing kit will be similar.
I already got the impression that the increased parallelism from having two channels per module and features like "same-bank refresh" would counter any stagnation in CAS latency, and this primer appears to confirm that. However, we won't know how well DDR5 works until independent testing can be conducted. Fortunately, Intel's upcoming Alder Lake desktop CPUs will support both DDR4 and DDR5 memory (requiring different motherboards), allowing for some direct comparisons to be made.
DDR5 will permit up to 128 GiB unbuffered modules (from DDR4's 32 GiB modules), which means that mainstream desktops with four memory slots will eventually support up to 512 GiB of memory. If you can afford it.
The on-die error correction code (ECC) feature will improve memory reliability, but is not a replacement for a traditional ECC implementation.
Previously: JEDEC Releases DDR5 Memory Specification
SK Hynix Ready to Ship 16 Gb DDR5 Dies, Has Its Own 64 GB DDR5-4800 Modules
Samsung's 512GB DDR5 Module is a Showcase for the Future of RAM
Chinese RAM Manufacturer Netac Plans to Release DDR5-10000 Modules
China's Tianwen-1 spacecraft, currently in orbit around the Red Planet, has dropped its lander and rover — named Zhurong after a Chinese mythological god of fire — completing the most perilous stage of its ten-month mission.
[...] It is China's first mission to Mars, and makes it only the third nation — after Russia and the United States — to have landed a spacecraft on the planet. The mission "is a big leap for China because they are doing in a single go what NASA took decades to do", says Roberto Orosei, a planetary scientist at the Institute of Radioastronomy of Bologna in Italy.
Zhurong now joins several other active missions at Mars. NASA's Perseverance rover, which arrived on 18 February, is several hundred kilometres away from the landing site, while NASA's Curiosity rover has been poking around the planet since 2012. Several spacecraft are also circling Mars, including the United Arab Emirates' Hope orbiter, which also arrived in February. "The more the merrier on Mars," says David Flannery, an astrobiologist at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia.
Researchers say that the engineering feat of getting there has taken precedence over science in China's first tour of Mars, but the mission could still reveal new geological information. They are especially excited about the possible detection of permafrost in Utopia Planitia, the region in the northern hemisphere of Mars where Zhurong has landed (see 'Landing site').
Also at Space News.
Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, is under investigation by a laundry list of US government agencies, including the US Justice Department, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, according to a report by Bloomberg. The agencies are probing Binance for potential criminal violations, the report says, though the company has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
The investigations come on the heels of a report by Chainalysis that traced $2.8 billion worth of illicit bitcoin on exchange and trading platforms. Of that, $756 million went through Binance. Most of the suspect accounts received small amounts, but the majority of the illicit cryptocurrency flowed to a few hundred accounts that received between $100,000 to $100 million. Government officials are said to be focused on money laundering and tax evasion.
[...] IRS agents have been investigating Binance for months, Bloomberg reports, and they are apparently scrutinizing both account holders and employees of the company. The CFTC is looking into whether Binance allowed Americans to trade illegally on the platform—US residents cannot trade cryptocurrency derivatives unless the company offering them is registered with the agency. And the Justice Department has reportedly assigned the investigation to its bank integrity unit, which handles particularly complex cases.
Yesterday some extraordinary new work in neural image synthesis caught the attention and the imagination of the internet, as Intel researchers revealed a new method for enhancing the realism of synthetic images.
The system, as demonstrated in a video from Intel, intervenes directly into the image pipeline for the Grand Theft Auto V video game, and automatically enhances the images through an image synthesis algorithm trained on a convolutional neural network (CNN), using real world imagery from the Mapillary dataset, and swapping out the less realistic lighting and texturing of the GTA game engine.
Commenters, in a wide range of reactions in communities such as Reddit and Hacker News, are positing not only that neural rendering of this type could effectively replace the less photorealistic output of traditional games engines and VFX-level CGI, but that this process could be achieved with far more basic input than was demonstrated in the Intel GTA5 demo — effectively creating 'puppet' proxy inputs with massively realistic outputs.
Frog legs rolled in worm flour could be the next culinary delight for European haute cuisine after the European Union gave its blessing for the first time for an insect food.
Dried yellow mealworm can now be sold across the 27-nation bloc after a Monday decision from EU governments and a food safety assessment, the European Commission said on Tuesday.
[...] "It is up to consumers to decide whether they want to eat insects or not," the EU said on its web page. "The use of insects as an alternate source of protein is not new."
Magnets, typically using rare earth metals like neodymium, are found at the heart of most electric vehicle motors. It's nice to have a permanent source of powerful rare earth magnetism in your rotor, because using powered coils instead means you have to somehow transfer electricity from the battery through to the coils in a spinning rotor. That means you'll need a sliding point of contact, and sliding points of contact develop wear and tear over time.
Permanent magnets, though, come with their own baggage. Ninety seven percent of the world's rare earth metal supply comes out of China, and state control over such a crucial resource across a number of high-tech industries has been a serious issue in the past. Official accounts differ about why China decided to restrict rare earth exports back at the start of the decade, as official accounts tend to do, but the result either way was a 750-percent leap in neodymium prices and a 2,000-percent leap in dysprosium prices.
[...] And that's the context into which German company Mahle has just announced a new electric motor that sounds like it solves a lot of problems in a very tidy manner.
The new Mahle design uses no magnets, instead using powered coils in its rotor. Unlike previous efforts, it transfers power to the spinning rotor using contactless induction – so there are basically no wear surfaces. This should make it extremely durable – not that electric motors have a reputation for needing much maintenance.
In the permanent twilight of the mesopelagic, a silent predator hunts.
[...] For giant squid, the bright lights mounted on underwater vehicles can be uncomfortable for their sensitive, low-light eyes, which can grow to the size of dinner plates; the sound and vibration can also scare off more mobile animals. And, of course, bringing giant squid to the surface won't record their behavior in their natural environment.
That's why a team of researchers led by Nathan Robinson of the Oceanographic Foundation in Spain devised a different solution: a passive deep-sea platform, equipped with a camera. Because giant squid eyes are optimized to see shorter-wavelength blue light, they used longer-wavelength red lighting that won't annoy them, in order to see the animals on video.
Finally, they added bait: a fake jellyfish, called E-jelly, equipped with lights that mimic the blue flashing bioluminescence emitted by an atolla jellyfish (Atolla wyvillei) in distress. Although giant squid aren't known to eat jellyfish specifically, they may be attracted to the distress lights of these atolla jellyfish - they might mean that the jellyfish is under attack by something the squid does want to eat.
Nathan J.Robinson, et. al.,Studying the swift, smart, and shy: Unobtrusive camera-platforms for observing large deep-sea squid [open], Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers (DOI: 10.1016/j.dsr.2021.103538)
World-first nanotechnology developed by the University of South Australia could change the lives of thousands of people living with cystic fibrosis (CF) as groundbreaking research shows it can improve the effectiveness of the CF antibiotic Tobramycin, increasing its efficacy by up to 100,000-fold.
The new technology uses a biomimetic nanostructured material to augment Tobramycin - the antibiotic prescribed to treat chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infections in severe cases of CF - eradicating the infection in as little as two doses.
In Australia, cystic fibrosis (CF) affects one in 2500 babies - or one baby born every four days - causing severe impairments to a person's lungs, airways and digestive system, trapping bacteria and leading to recurrent infections. Lung failure is the major cause of death for people with CF.
Chelsea R. Thorn, Cristiane de Souza Carvalho‐Wodarz, Justus C. Horstmann, et al. Tobramycin Liquid Crystal Nanoparticles Eradicate Cystic Fibrosis‐Related Pseudomonas aeruginosa Biofilms, Small (DOI: 10.1002/smll.202100531)
Chelsea R. Thorn, Deepa Raju, Ira Lacdao, et al. Protective Liquid Crystal Nanoparticles for Targeted Delivery of PslG: A Biofilm Dispersing Enzyme, ACS Infectious Diseases (DOI: 10.1021/acsinfecdis.1c00014)
SpaceX's bourgeoning Starlink satellite-based broadband internet service just got a big boost from a significant new partner: Google Cloud. Thanks to a new partnership between the two, SpaceX will now be locating Starlink ground stations right within Google's existing data centers, providing the Starlink network with direct access to ground-based network infrastructure to help facilitate network connections for customers who are on the edges of the footprint of existing network access.
[...] This should not only bolster Starlink's reliability in terms of its consumer clients, but also provide key capabilities for serving enterprise customers — another key target demographic for the growing Starlink business, though much of the public focus thus far for Starlink's roll-out has been on residential access across its expanding beta.
Starship's first trip beyond Texas will take Elon Musk's Mars rocket prototype to Hawaii via orbit.
That's the plan revealed in a new SpaceX filing with the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday. SpaceX applied to the FCC for a license authorizing the radio communications for the next-generation spacecraft's first visit to actual space.
[...] An attachment to the application lays out the details of the flight:
"The Starship Orbital test flight will originate from Starbase, TX. The Booster stage will separate approximately 170 seconds into flight. The Booster will then perform a partial return and land in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 20 miles from the shore. The Orbital Starship will continue on flying between the Florida Straits. It will achieve orbit until performing a powered, targeted landing approximately 100km (~62 miles) off the northwest coast of Kauai in a soft ocean landing."
That would be a Super Heavy booster (which has yet to fly) with a Starship (that has never gone higher than 10 km / 6 miles) on top that is launched from their Boca Chica, Texas facility.
A smattering of plutonium atoms embedded in Earth's crust are helping to resolve the origins of nature's heaviest elements.
Scientists had long suspected that elements such as gold, silver and plutonium are born during supernovas, when stars explode. But typical supernovas can't explain the quantity of heavy elements in our cosmic neighborhood, a new study suggests. That means other cataclysmic events must have been major contributors, physicist Anton Wallner and colleagues report in the May 14 Science.
The result bolsters a recent change of heart among astrophysicists. Standard supernovas have fallen out of favor. Instead, researchers think that heavy elements are more likely forged in collisions of two dense, dead stars called neutron stars, or in certain rare types of supernovas, such as those that form from fast-spinning stars (SN[*]: 5/8/19).
Heavy elements can be produced via a series of reactions in which atomic nuclei swell larger and larger as they rapidly gobble up neutrons. This series of reactions is known as the r-process, where "r" stands for rapid. But, says Wallner, of Australian National University in Canberra, "we do not know for sure where the site for the r-process is." It's like having the invite list for a gathering, but not its location, so you know who's there without knowing where the party's at.
[...] If an r-process event had recently happened nearby, some of the elements created could have landed on Earth, leaving fingerprints in Earth's crust. Starting with a 410-gram sample of Pacific Ocean crust, Wallner and colleagues used a particle accelerator to separate and count atoms. Within one piece of the sample, the scientists searched for a variety of plutonium called plutonium-244, which is produced by the r-process. Since heavy elements are always produced together in particular proportions in the r-process, plutonium-244 can serve as a proxy for other heavy elements. The team found about 180 plutonium-244 atoms, deposited into the crust within the last 9 million years.
[*] SN is ScienceNews, not SoylentNews.
Lyme disease is the most reported vector-borne disease in the country. Over the past 20 years, the United States has experienced a dramatic increase in both the number of reported cases and the geographic distribution of the disease. In Virginia, the disease is transmitted by blacklegged ticks, which are infected with the Lyme disease-causing bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi.
Virginia Tech Assistant Professor Brandon Jutras and his lab have continued to tackle the Lyme disease epidemic over the past year, and they have recently identified another missing piece of the Lyme disease puzzle.
"This discovery furthers our understanding of how Borrelia burgdorferi causes inflammation and disease," said Mari Davis, who is the lead author on the paper, a former master's graduate of the Jutras lab in the Department of Biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. "It is a testament to how unique that this bacterium is -- and how we need to keep working to understand more about what is going on behind the scenes in order to develop future diagnostics and treatments."
Their findings were recently published in PLOS Pathogens, a peer-reviewed open-access medical journal.
[...] With this new piece to the puzzle in hand, Jutras plans to add to the lab's current efforts to improve the diagnostic testing and treatment of Lyme disease.
"From a prevention and diagnostic perspective, it's possible that the combination of peptidoglycan and NapA could be a novel target for diagnostics," Jutras said. "It could, in theory, be a possible avenue of vaccine development as well. These are big picture possibilities that we are actively pursuing. One thing that we know for sure is that this finding furthers our understanding of how peptidoglycan can drive Lyme arthritis patient symptology."
Marisela M. Davis, Aaron M. Brock, Tanner G. DeHart, et al. The peptidoglycan-associated protein NapA plays an important role in the envelope integrity and in the pathogenesis of the lyme disease spirochete, PLOS Pathogens (DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1009546)
On Wednesday, a US senator added an amendment to unrelated science legislation that would impose significant restrictions on NASA and its plans to return to the Moon.
[...] as other amendments to the bill were debated and rejected, one of the Endless Frontier Act co-sponsors, Republican Todd Young of Indiana, expressed frustration with the process. "This bill, in the main, is not supposed to be about space, private space companies," Young said. "It in the main is supposed to be about competing, out-competing, out-innovating, outgrowing communist China."
[...] The legislation calls for $10.03 billion in additional funding for NASA to carry out the Human Landing System program. This legislation comes as Blue Origin and Jeff Bezos have been urging Congress to add $10 billion to NASA's budget—enough money to fully fund the development of a second Human Landing System.
[...] [Washington Senator Maria Cantwell's] amendment mandates that NASA move forward with two landers. If the amendment is signed into law, NASA would likely have to re-open the competition, thus delaying work on the agency's return to the Moon and putting an already difficult target of 2024 into further jeopardy.
This legislation also ignores NASA's own plans to both create a lunar lander competition as well as keep the possibility of a 2024 landing on track. Under NASA's plans, SpaceX would work at full speed toward the 2024 landing, while a second company would be brought on to compete for subsequent landings. But this has not mollified Cantwell. With her amendment, Cantwell seems to be saying that if Blue Origin can't be included in the program, Artemis shouldn't move forward.
The bill would also require NASA to continue development of the "Exploration Upper Stage," which is a new, more powerful second stage for the agency's Space Launch System rocket. Moreover, the bill says this upper stage should be ready for use on the third launch of the rocket.
Cantwell amendment (PDF).
The book also delves into the 2014 decision by United Launch Alliance to purchase BE-4 rocket engines from Blue Origin for its Vulcan rocket. Significant fallout ensued a few years later when Blue Origin announced its plans to build the large New Glenn rocket that would compete with Vulcan.
"Executives from the two companies stopped talking; tensions were so high that they walked past one another in the halls of the annual Space Symposium that year without acknowledging one another," Stone writes. "Blue later disputed the notion that its execs stopped talking to counterparts at ULA. Nevertheless, the story ULA execs eventually heard from employees at Blue... was that Bezos was frustrated that the government was funding Elon Musk's space dreams and wanted to get in on the action."
Maybe Starship can carry the SLS and Exploration Upper Stage into orbit to lower development costs on both?
Previously: NASA Selects SpaceX, Dynetics, and Blue Origin to Develop Manned Lunar Landers
SpaceX's Starship to Return Humanity to the Moon in Stunning NASA Decision
Starship SN15 Survives Launch and Landing
The California Highway Patrol said it arrested a man seen riding in the back seat of a Tesla Model 3 that had no one in the driver's seat. Param Sharma, 25, was arrested "and booked into Santa Rita Jail" on counts of reckless driving and disobeying an officer, the department said in a statement Tuesday. Sharma was arrested after multiple 911 calls on Monday around 6:30 pm reported a driverless vehicle "traveling eastbound on I-80 across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge toward the city of Oakland," police said.
Sharma spent a night locked up, and he "committed the same crime shortly after being released from jail," according to a story yesterday by KTVU Fox 2:
Param Sharma met KTVU's Jesse Gary in San Francisco Wednesday afternoon, not far from his mother's high-rise apartment. After getting out of jail on two counts of reckless driving, he pulled up sitting in the back seat of a Tesla with no one in the driver's seat.
When asked if he purchased a new Tesla after the previous one was impounded he said, "Yeah, I'm rich as [expletive]. I'm very rich."
"I feel safer back here than I do up there," Sharma also told KTVU from the right-rear passenger seat.
Sharma expressed confidence in Tesla's self-driving capabilities in another interview with KTVU. "I've been brake-checked before really hard, and the car stopped. The car came to a complete stop. [Tesla CEO] Elon Musk really knows what he's doing, and I think people are tripping and they're scared," Sharma said.
The officer who pulled over Sharma "observed the individual move into the driver's seat" and then bring the car to a stop, police said. Police said they had already "cited Sharma on April 27 for similar behavior."
I watched the video in the linked KUTV story in utter disbelief.
It seems that in the United States, at least, app developers and advertisers who rely on targeted mobile advertising for revenue are seeing their worst fears realized: Analytics data published this week suggests that US users choose to opt out of tracking 96 percent of the time in the wake of iOS 14.5.
When Apple released iOS 14.5 late last month, it began enforcing a policy called App Tracking Transparency. iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV apps are now required to request users' permission to use techniques like IDFA (ID for Advertisers) to track those users' activity across multiple apps for data collection and ad targeting purposes.