Covers the period:
2017-01-01 .. 2017-03-29
(SPIDs: [586..633]) --martyb
We always have a place for talented people, visit the Get Involved section on the wiki to see how you can make SoylentNews better.
NASA on Tuesday (March 28) unveiled a new online library that assembles the agency's amazing space photos, videos and audio files into a single searchable library.
The NASA Image and Video Library, as the agency calls it, can be found at http://images.nasa.gov and consolidates space imagery from 60 different colletions[sic] into one location.
"NASA Image and Video Library allows users to search, discover and download a treasure trove of more than 140,000 NASA images, videos and audio files from across the agency's many missions in aeronautics, astrophysics, Earth science, human spaceflight, and more," NASA officials wrote in a statement. "Users can browse the agency's most recently uploaded files, as well as discover historic and the most popularly searched images, audio files and videos."
The new database allows users to embed NASA imagery in websites, includes image metadata like date, description and keywords, and offers multiple resolution sizes,
A new attack on smart TVs allows a malicious actor to take over devices using rogue DVB-T (Digital Video Broadcasting — Terrestrial) signals, get root access on the smart TV, and use the device for all sorts of nasty actions, ranging from DDoS attacks to spying on end users.
The attack, developed by Rafael Scheel, a security researcher working for Swiss cyber security consulting company Oneconsult, is unique and much more dangerous than previous smart TV hacks.
Until now, all smart TV exploits relied on attackers having physical access to the device, in order to plug in an USB that executes malicious code. Other attacks relied on social engineering, meaning attackers had to trick users into installing a malicious app on their TV.
Even the mighty CIA developed a hacking tool named "Weeping Angel," which could take over Samsung smart TVs and turn them into spying devices. But despite its considerable human and financial resources, the CIA and its operators needed physical access to install Weeping Angel, which made it less likely to be used in mass attacks, and was only feasible if deployed on one target at a time, during carefully-planned operations.
Because of the many constraints that come with physical and social engineering attacks, Scheel didn't consider any of them as truly dangerous, and decided to create his own.
Intel is talking about improvements it has made to transistor scaling for the 10nm process node, and claims that its version of 10nm will increase transistor density by 2.7x rather than doubling it.
On the face of it, three years between process shrinks, rather than the traditional two years, would appear to end Moore's Law. But Intel claims that's not so. The company says that the 14nm and 10nm process shrinks in particular more than doubled the transistor density. At 10nm, for example, the company names a couple of techniques that are enabling this "hyperscaling." Each logic cell (an arrangement of transistors to form a specific logic gate, such as a NAND gate or a flip flop) is surrounded by dummy gates: spacers to isolate one cell from its neighbor. Traditionally, two dummy gates have been used at the boundary of each cell; at 10nm, Intel is reducing this to a single dummy gate, thereby reducing the space occupied by each cell and allowing them to be packed more tightly.
Each gate has a number of contacts used to join them to the metal layers of the chip. Traditionally, the contact was offset from the gate. At 10nm, Intel is stacking the contacts on top of the gates, which it calls "contact over active gate." Again, this reduces the space each gate takes, increasing the transistor density.
Intel proposes a new metric for measuring transistor density:
Intel wants to describe processes in terms of millions of logic transistors per square millimeter, calculated using a 3:2 mix of NAND cells and scan flip flop cells. Using this metric, the company's 22nm process managed 15.3 megatransistors per millimeter squared (MTr/mm2). The current 14nm process is 37.5MTr/mm2, and at 10nm, the company will hit 100.8MTr/mm2. Competing 14nm/16nm processes only offer around 28MTr/mm2, and Intel estimates that competing 10nm processes will come in at around 50MTr/mm2.
See also: the International Roadmap for Devices and Systems.
A number of stories here have covered the advancement to 10nm chips: Samsung: Exynos, TSMC: MediaTech Helio X30 for example. A reoccuring comment in the discussions is if 10nm from Samsung is equivalent to 10nm for TSMC or Intel.
Intel's Mark Bohr discussed the difficulty of comparing process nodes during Manufacturing Day, specifically proposing to move the industry to transistor density as a comparative metric. Surprisingly enough, Intel claims their 10nm process is roughly twice as dense of the competition. Intel is not the only ones frustrated by comparing process nodes, as this recent article tries to compare current "14nm" nodes between the major vendors.
To further confuse the discussion is new 22nm processes: Global Foundries 22nm FD-SOI and Intel's just announced 22FFL process, both targeting energy efficient devices. GF's is in high volume manufacturing already while Intel's is just announced, but further cement's Intel's delve into foundry work.
Feral is a game porting company that has ported many AAA games to Linux.
In a happy move that makes me want to dev a bit for Mesa we have the following announcement:
Thank you to the Mesa community for helping improve support for Mesa drivers!
To spur you on, we're giving dedicated contributors a special Steam Key granting free access to our entire Linux repertoire. That's a lot of test cases...
If you have made at least 25 commits to Mesa in the past five years, email firstname.lastname@example.org with 'Steam' in the subject, and tell us your usernames for freedesktop and Steam.
See you in the repository.
Wait, twenty-five commits? I've done that in a single day working on rehash. Get your key before they change it to pull requests.
Drones could someday have a sort of invisible license plate that allows local authorities to determine who the unmanned aerial system (UAS) belongs too. Pitched by Chinese drone manufacturer DJI, the concept for an electronic identification system for small drones is just one of many ideas as the Federal Aviation Administration looks into potential ways of identifying drone users.
DJI suggests drones should use the radio equipment already on board most systems to transmit a unique registration number. That number would identify the drone owner to law enforcement in the event of a complaint or flight through a restricted area. Areas with restricted drone flight, such as airports, could use radio equipment to read that number and report the ID number to the authorities. Since identifying the drone would require access to a database linking each number with a name, the invisible license plate approach would be less likely to be abused outside of law enforcement, DJI suggests.
"The best solution is usually the simplest," DJI wrote on Monday. "The focus of the primary method for remote identification should be on a way for anyone concerned about a drone flight in close proximity to report an identifier number to the authorities, who would then have the tools to investigate the complaint without infringing on operator privacy."
Source: Digital Trends
Rural America is facing an existential crisis. As cities continue to grow and prosper, small towns are shrinking. That fundamental divide played itself out in the recent presidential election.
[...] The trend is clear: Rural America is literally fading away. It shouldn't come as a surprise, therefore, that the opioid overdose epidemic has hit rural states, like Kentucky and West Virginia, especially hard. And the latest research from the CDC also shouldn't come as a surprise: Suicides in rural America (labeled as non-core) have increased over 40% in 16 years.
From 1999 to 2015, suicide rates increased everywhere in America. On average, across the U.S., suicides increased from 12.2 per 100,000 to 15.7 per 100,0001, an increase of just under 30%. However, in rural America, the suicide rate surged over 40%2, from just over 15 per 100,000 to roughly 22 per 100,000. Similarly, the suicide rate in micropolitan areas (defined as having a population between 10,000-49,999) went from 14 per 100,000 to 19 per 100,000, an increase of around 35%.
On the flip side, major cities saw much smaller increases in suicide rates, on the order of 10%. The graph depicts a clear pattern: Suicide rates are highest in the most rural parts of the country, and they slowly decrease as urbanization increases. As of 2015, the suicide rate in rural areas (22 per 100,000) is about 40% higher than in the nation as a whole (15.7 per 100,000) and 83% higher than in large cities (12 per 100,000).
-- submitted from IRC
Intel just announced two new products that bring Optane technology to the consumer desktop. Optane is loosely defined as the company's products built with 3D XPoint technology, a next generation non-volatile memory structure built from the ground up to reduce latency. The new Optane Memory products will ship in two capacities (16GB and 32GB) and give users access to a whole new performance tier--as long as you have the supporting technology in place, mainly a 200-series chipset.
Pricing for Optane Memory M.2 2280 modules start at just $44 (16GB) and peak at $75 (32GB). The operating system recognizes the new products as addressable storage, just like a regular hard disk drive or solid-state drive. Intel told us that support for the drives as cache starts with the latest 200-series chipset products that feature an additional four PCI Express lanes over the older 100-series chipset.
The magic happens when you enable a "modified" version of Smart Response Technology and build a cache array with the Optane Memory standing invisibly in front of an HDD or SSD. The Optane Memory becomes a cache device that accelerates I/O for data retained in its memory structure from previous I/O requests.
Compare with the previous story about a 3D XPoint SSD for the enterprise: First Intel Optane 3D XPoint SSD Released: 375 GB for $1520. Many more of us could find $44-75 to blow on this cache.
JWST passed its final vibration testing Tuesday ensuring that the craft is finally fit for spaceflight. NASA has scheduled the telescope for an October 2018 launch, but the telescope was originally supposed to be launched in 2011 marking a long history of major cost overruns and delays.
NASA announced last December that the JWST was halfway completed, but the project is currently $7.2 billion over its initial budget and seven years behind the original schedule. The JWST was initially projected to cost $1.6 billion. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) now estimates the final cost of the telescope at $8.8 billion.
[...] During vibration testing in December at NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center, accelerometers attached to the telescope detected "unexpected responses" and engineers were forced to shut the test down to protect the hardware. The kind of response NASA found could potentially create serious problems when the telescope is launched into space.
Scientists say that mice adapted to live alongside humans around 15,000 years ago, based on fossil evidence gathered in the Levant:
New fossil evidence discovered by an international team of researchers shows that mice have been living alongside humans for the past 15,000 years, a new study [DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1619137114] [DX]in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports.
Scientists believe mice first moved into human settlements in the Eastern Mediterranean region to steal wild grains and seeds that were stored by the ancient peoples that lived there. Though this began as simple scavenging, the rodents eventually took up residence in the grain stores and became house mice.
"Nowadays, thanks to this relationship, house mice have colonized almost every corner of the globe to become almost as ubiquitous as humans and also one of the most invasive mammalian species," said study co-author Dr. Thomas Cucchi of Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, according to BBC News.
Also at Washington University in St. Louis.
The UK Government has officially notified the EU that they are invoking Article 50. This begins the 2-year timer for the UK to leave the EU.
In a statement in the Commons, [Prime Minister Teresa] May said: "Today the government acts on the democratic will of the British people and it acts too on the clear and convincing position of this House."
She added: "The Article 50 process is now under way and in accordance with the wishes of the British people the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union.
"This is an historic moment from which there can be no turning back."
Designers Ostap Rudakevych and Masayuki Sono have unveiled a design for a skyscraper that would hang from an orbiting asteroid:
Clouds Architecture Office has unveiled plans for a futuristic skyscraper dubbed the "Analemma Tower." The building would hover majestically above the ground because it would be attached -- wait for it -- to an actual asteroid, in space, that is forcibly put into orbit around the earth.
If that's not enough to digest, consider that your exact address in this pendulous pad could be anywhere on Earth. The tower will be suspended via high-strength cabling from an asteroid and placed in "eccentric geosynchronous orbit". In other words, it would be always moving -- residents and visitors would take a daily journey between the northern and southern hemispheres with a prolonged visit over a main "home" point like New York City or Dubai (it's always New York City or Dubai, isn't it?)
[...] Analemma Tower's designer Ostap Rudakevych told CNN that the tower could be made of durable and lightweight materials such as carbon fiber and aluminum. Advances in cable engineering would be needed to achieve the cable strength required to support the structure. Power would come from space based solar panels that have a constant exposure to sunlight. Water for the tower will be captured from clouds and rainwater and maintained in a semi-closed loop system.
As proposed the top of the tower sits at 32,000m and would be expected to reach speeds of 300mph as it travels through the sky.
The FCC broadband privacy rules have now been repealed by both the Senate and the House, and the repeal is highly likely to be approved by President Trump. This has generated interest (and advertising) for VPN services:
The vote by the U.S. Congress to repeal rules that limit how internet service providers can use customer data has generated renewed interest in an old internet technology: virtual private networks, or VPNs.
[...] "Time to start using a VPN at home," Vijaya Gadde, general counsel of Twitter Inc, said in a tweet on Tuesday that was retweeted by Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey. Gadde was not immediately available for comment. Twitter said she was commenting in her personal capacity and not on behalf of the company.
[...] Some smaller broadband providers are now seizing on privacy as a competitive advantage. Sonic, a California-based broadband provider, offers a free VPN service to its customers so they can connect to its network when they are not home. That ensures that when Sonic users log on to wi-fi at a coffee shop or hotel, for example, their data is not collected by that establishment's broadband provider. "We see VPN as being important for our customers when they're not on our network. They can take it with them on the road," CEO Dane Jasper said.
[...] Private Internet Access, a VPN provider, took a visible stand against the repeal measure when it bought a full-page ad in the New York Times on Sunday. But the company, which boasts about a million subscribers, potentially stands to benefit from the legislation, acknowledged marketing director Caleb Chen.
VPNs have drawbacks. They funnel all user traffic through one point, so they are an attractive target for hackers and spies. The biggest obstacle to their routine use as a privacy safeguard is that they can be too much of a hassle to set up for many customers. They also cost money.
Monday was Juno's first flyby since a plan to tighten orbits from 53.5 days to two weeks had to be scrapped.
NASA's Juno spacecraft sailed over Jupiter's cloud tops early Monday, the fourth time the solar-powered probe has approached the giant planet and collected science data since its arrival last July 4.
[...] On its current trajectory, Juno arcs out to a distance several million miles from Jupiter and returns for a high-speed encounter once every 53-and-a-half days.
[...] "Every time we get near Jupiter's cloud tops, we learn new insights that help us understand this amazing giant planet," said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.
For those Soylentils who are contemplating a job change or who are applying for work in IT (Information Technology), this Computerworld salary survey might help when it comes to negotiating compensation.
Remember, let the employer name a figure first, then haggle up from there. There are links at the end of the article providing report as well as to a page where you can compare your pay scale against different job titles, experience level, and geographic area.
When it comes to airport infrastructure, the design of terminals may have changed over the years, but the long, straight runway has stayed remarkably consistent. Dutch researcher Henk Hesselink thinks it's time for a change. His radical ideas about runway design would transform the modern airport's operations, layout, and efficiency—and even its architecture.
Since 2012, Hesselink and his team at the National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR) in the Netherlands have been working on a runway design that's circular instead of straight. Their so-called Endless Runway Project—funded by the European Commission's Seventh Framework Program, which supported research in breakthrough technology from 2007 through 2013, and in partnership with several other European scientific agencies—proposes a circular design that would enable planes to take off in the direction most advantageous for them. Namely, the direction without any crosswinds.
[Related]: giant circles from the air
Do you think such a design would work in practice?