Linux fréttir

Will MIT Scientists' Powerful Magnet Lead Us to Nuclear Fusion Energy?

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-08-15 03:34
"A start-up founded by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says it is nearing a technological milestone that could take the world a step closer to fusion energy, which has eluded scientists for decades," reports the New York Times: Researchers at M.I.T.'s Plasma Science and Fusion Center and engineers at the company, Commonwealth Fusion Systems, have begun testing an extremely powerful magnet that is needed to generate immense heat that can then be converted to electricity. It would open the gates toward what they believe could eventually be a fusion reactor... Though a fusion energy breakthrough remains elusive, it is still held out as one of the possible high-technology paths to ending reliance on fossil fuels. And some researchers believe that fusion research could finally take a leap forward this decade. More than two dozen private ventures in the United States, Europe, China and Australia and government-funded consortia are now investing heavily in efforts to build commercial fusion reactors. Total investment by people such as Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos is edging toward $2 billion. The federal government is also spending about $600 million each year on fusion research, and there is a proposed amendment to add $1 billion to the Biden administration's infrastructure bill, said Andrew Holland, chief executive of the Fusion Industry Association... Commonwealth's new magnet, which will be one of the world's most powerful, will be a crucial component in a compact nuclear fusion reactor known as a Tokamak, a design that uses magnetic forces to compress plasma until it is hotter than the sun... Commonwealth Fusion executives claim that the magnet is a significant technology breakthrough that will make Tokamak designs commercially viable for the first time. They say they are not yet ready to test their reactor prototype, but the researchers are finishing the magnet and hope it will be workable by 2025... Commonwealth, which has raised more than $250 million so far and employs 150 people, received a significant boost last year when physicists at M.I.T.'s Plasma Science and Fusion Center and the company published seven peer-reviewed papers in the Journal of Plasma Physics explaining that the reactor will work as planned. What remains to be proved is that the Commonwealth prototype reactor can produce more energy than it consumes, an ability that physicists define as Q greater than 1. The company is hoping that its prototype, when complete, will produce 10 times the energy it consumes. Commonwealth's chief executive (also a plasma physicist) explains to the Times how fusion energy is different than other sources: because it really doesn't require any resources. "You add up all the costs, the cost of normal stuff like concrete and steel, and it will make as much power as a gas plant, but without having to pay for the gas."

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Will Google's Tensor Chip Spell Trouble for 5G?

Slashdot - Sun, 2021-08-15 01:34
Google's Pixel 6 phone will be powered by a Tensor processor which PCMag UK believes is "clearly designed to accelerate machine learning and AI." But does it have bigger implications? Tensor is a signpost, not a destination. Google has never sold huge numbers of Pixel phones and isn't signaling a change in strategy there. Rather, it's saying that it would like Android as a whole to shift toward more on-device processing for AI and ML. That could give a big boost to Google's two core businesses, advertising and data. It could also create problems for the future of 5G... The more your phone can handle its own ML and AI, the less it needs the cloud. For example, a Tensor-enabled phone could potentially analyze your photos and share data locally with on-device advertising APIs, letting Google proclaim that its cloud services never access your raw data. That would help bridge the gap between the privacy you want and the targeted ads Google needs to survive. But a lot of consumer 5G app ideas assume your phone will offload processing or rendering onto the network. Phones that are mostly self-sufficient aren't going to need high-bandwidth, low-latency networks or "mobile edge computing." Sure, the rise of more Tensor-like ML-focused chips would take pressure off the carriers' still-shaky 5G builds, but it'll also keep raising the question of why consumers need 5G in the first place. That could reduce carriers' willingness to keep investing in their consumer 5G networks. Although the first sence of the article's last paragraph adds, "Maybe I'm overstating the issue here..."

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A CyberSecurity CEO Used Apple's AirTags to Locate His Stolen Scooter

Slashdot - Sat, 2021-08-14 22:34
Dan Guido's cybersecurity consulting firm Trail of Bits claims its clients range from Facebook to DARPA. CNET tells the story of what happened after someone stole Guido's electric scooter: The cybersecurity CEO, located in Brooklyn, New York, had hidden two Apple AirTags inside the black scooter, concealed with black duct tape. He set out the next day to locate the vehicle with help from the little Bluetooth trackers. Spoiler alert: He succeeded. Guido works at the New York City-based Trail of Bits, a cybersecurity research and consulting firm that serves clients in the defense, tech, finance and blockchain industries. He chronicled his hunt for the scooter in a series of tweets Monday, sharing both the challenges and successes of his wild journey... After some convincing, two police officers eventually agreed to accompany him to the scooter's location. Then, they spotted something promising: an e-bike store. After venturing inside, Guido received a ping, alerting him the elusive scooter was nearby... Guido's tweets document the rest of the big confrontation. "As I further inspect the scooter, the cops start asking questions: Do you sell used e-bikes? Do you collect info from the seller? Do you ask they prove ownership? What is the contact info for the person who dropped this scooter off? No, No, No, and we donâ(TM)t know... "An employee inside realizes we're investigating further. He immediately becomes agitated: I should be happy I got my scooter back and leave. Itâ(TM)s my fault for getting it stolen. Iâ(TM)m screwing up his day. This isnâ(TM)t how we do things in Brooklyn. More joined in..." Among Guido's final tweets of advice: "Limit your in-person interactions and always involve the police. Donâ(TM)t try to retrieve your stolen goods until you have backup." Apple Insider adds that "This Apple Insider. "">isn't the first time that Apple's AirTags have been used to locate missing or stolen items. Back in July, a tech enthusiast said he used the tracking accessories to find his missing wallet hours after losing it on the New York City subway."

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Would You Let Amazon Scan Your Palm For $10?

Slashdot - Sat, 2021-08-14 21:34
"New Amazon CEO Andy Jassy is facing questions about how the company plans to use the data it gathers from its newly installed palm-reading scanners in some of the company's retail outlets," reports GeekWire: A group of three U.S. senators — Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), and Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) — sent a letter to Jassy asking a series of questions about its new Amazon One program which encourages people to make contactless payments via hand scans in its brick-and-mortar stores, such as Whole Foods. Specifically, the senators expressed concerns about Amazon's own history with its user data... "Our concerns about user privacy are heightened by evidence that Amazon shared voice data with third-party contractors and allegations that Amazon has violated biometric privacy laws... In contrast with biometric systems like Apple's Face ID and Touch ID or Samsung Pass, which store biometric information on a user's device, Amazon One reportedly uploads biometric information to the cloud, raising unique security risks," they wrote in the letter. Currently, Amazon is offering $10 in promotional credits to those who enroll their bank accounts in the program and link them to their Amazon accounts. Hot Hardware calls it a "slightly creepy promo," asking "What is the lowest amount you would sell your personal palm print for to a third-party?"

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Deflecting Criticism, Russia Tries Insinuating 2018 Hole on Space Station Was US Sabotage

Slashdot - Sat, 2021-08-14 19:34
Remember that small leak on the International Space Station discovered in 2018 that was traced to a Russian module and apparently made by a drill bit? (Implicating the technicans that built the module on earth, Ars Technica wrote "There is evidence that a technician saw the drilling mistake and covered the hole with glue, which prevented the problem from being detected...") It's being revisited in the aftermath of a more recent incident involving Russia's Nauka science module to the International Space Station. (A software glitch after launch had required two course corrections for its rocket, and then while docking in space the module mistakenly fired its thrusters, causing the space station to briefly loss control, as well as communication with earth for 11 minutes.) Russia "is furious at what it says is unfair criticism of its space program," notes Futurism.com. In response, Russia's state-owned news agency TASS has presented an anonymous interview with someone said to be a "high ranking" official at their space agency suggesting that the 2018 drill hole could've been caused by an emotionally unstable NASA flight engineer onboard the space station. The state-owned agency's story claims this flight engineer had discovered a blood clot in their jugular vein, and could've decided their return to earth for medical treatment might be expedited by sabotaging Russia's module. The problem with this story? Space.com reports: NASA officials knew the precise locations of the U.S. astronauts before the leak occurred and at the moment it began, thanks to space station surveillance. The video footage indicated that none of the U.S. astronauts on the station were near the Russian segment where the Soyuz vehicle was docked. So Russia's state-owned news agency TASS now suggests that NASA could've tampered with that video to cover-up sabotage by NASA's astronauts — and points out that they weren't allowed to administer lie-detecting polygraph tests to those astronauts. Asked to comment on the "unstable astronaut" theory, NASA's human spaceflight chief said they "did not find this accusation credible." Ars Technica calls Russia's claims "extraordinarily defamatory."

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