Last updated 24 Feb, 03:20 AM
BBC News - Home
Brexit must not be frustrated, Theresa May vows - The prime minister addresses party activists ahead of a week of crucial votes in Parliament.
Venezuela crisis: Clashes break out at border towns - The opposition tries to bring aid into the country, while President Maduro vows to keep it out.
Duke and Duchess of Sussex: Harry and Meghan arrive in Morocco - The royal couple land in Casablanca for a three-day trip focused on gender equality.
Supermarkets misleading shoppers on healthy food, say nutritionists - Supermarkets should be more transparent on food classification, say public health experts.
Kim Jong-un leaves North Korea for Vietnam by train - The North Korean leader is set to meet US President Donald Trump in Hanoi on 27-8 February.
Linus Torvalds pulls pin, tosses in grenade: x86 won, forget about Arm in server CPUs, says Linux kernel supremo - Processor designer says he's right about one thing: The need for end-to-end dev platforms Linux kernel king Linus Torvalds this week dismissed cross-platform efforts to support his contention that Arm-compatible processors will never dominate the server market.…
Decoding the President, because someone has to: Did Trump just blow up concerted US effort to ban Chinese 5G kit? - Contrarian command-in-chief tweets, world scratches head Comment President Donald Trump appears to have undermined an increasingly aggressive push by the US government and telcos to pressure the world to shun Chinese equipment in next-generation 5G networks.…
How politics works, part 97: Telecoms industry throws a fundraiser for US senator night before he oversees, er, a telecoms privacy hearing - Nothing like a little reminder of who's really in charge The chairman of a US Senate committee mulling privacy protections will be thrown a reelection fundraiser by, er, the privacy-trampling telecoms industry literally the day before a key hearing.…
Now you've read about the bonkers world of Elizabeth Holmes, own some Theranos history: Upstart's IT gear for sale - Hard drives not included, for obvious reasons Fancy owning a piece of Silicon Valley history? Hundreds of PCs, notebooks, and monitors used by infamous biotech cluster-fuck-up Theranos are set to be sold off following the $10bn-peak-valued biz's collapse.…
Entrust Datacard lined up to unburden Thales of nCipher biz as price for Gemalto buyout - Profitable secure SIM firm in the bag by March, Thales hopes French defence tech conglomerate Thales has flogged off its hardware security module biz nCipher Security, a sale demanded by competition regulators over Thales' buyout of Gemalto.…
New Scientist - News
Wolves are spreading in Germany by moving into military land - Wolves have returned to Germany. The animals seems to be spreading by moving between military training grounds, preferring these to protected natural areas
Virgin Galactic reaches space again - this time with a passenger - The first test passenger has gone to the edge of space aboard Virgin Galactic’s Unity space plane, a key milestone in the firm’s quest to send paying customers to space
Quantum experiment suggests there really are ‘alternative facts’ - A complex probe of the foundations of quantum mechanics suggests that the nature of reality depends on who is looking – there are no objective facts we can agree on
Four stars full of burnt nuclear ash are speeding through the galaxy - When a star goes supernova it is usually destroyed in a powerful explosion, but four stars have survived to tell the tale and are running away fast
How the zebra got its stripes: The problem with 'just-so' stories - The mystery of why zebras have stripes has puzzled biologists for decades, and while we are closing in on the answer, the question isn’t settled yet
Reinforcement Learning and Optimal Control - Comments
Did A US Navy Scientist Just Invent A Room-Temperature Superconductor? - "A scientist working for the U.S. Navy has filed for a patent on a room-temperature superconductor, representing a potential paradigm shift in energy transmission and computer systems," reports Phys.org: Salvatore Cezar Pais is listed as the inventor on the Navy's patent application made public by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday. The application claims that a room-temperature superconductor can be built using a wire with an insulator core and an aluminum PZT (lead zirconate titanate) coating deposited by vacuum evaporation with a thickness of the London penetration depth and polarized after deposition. An electromagnetic coil is circumferentially positioned around the coating such that when the coil is activated with a pulsed current, a non-linear vibration is induced, enabling room temperature superconductivity. "This concept enables the transmission of electrical power without any losses and exhibits optimal thermal management (no heat dissipation)," according to the patent document, "which leads to the design and development of novel energy generation and harvesting devices with enormous benefits to civilization." Long-time Slashdot reader resistant writes: NextBigFuture says the same individual appears to have made other startling claims that arguably stretch the boundaries of belief, such as a "high-frequency gravitational wave generator" that could supposedly drive a spaceship without conventional propellants as well as an "inertial mass reduction device." Prudence would appear to dictate examining these and other claims by Mr. Salvatore Cezar Pais with great caution. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
NYT Reporter 'Ditched My Phone and Unbroke My Brain' - "It's an unnerving sensation, being alone with your thoughts in the year 2019," writes New York Times technology columnist Kevin Roose, in an article shared by DogDude. "I don't love referring to what we have as an 'addiction.' That seems too sterile and clinical to describe what's happening to our brains in the smartphone era." We might someday evolve the correct biological hardware to live in harmony with portable supercomputers that satisfy our every need and connect us to infinite amounts of stimulation. But for most of us, it hasn't happened yet... [S]ometime last year, I crossed the invisible line into problem territory. My symptoms were all the typical ones: I found myself incapable of reading books, watching full-length movies or having long uninterrupted conversations. Social media made me angry and anxious, and even the digital spaces I once found soothing (group texts, podcasts, YouTube k-holes) weren't helping... Mostly, I became aware of how profoundly uncomfortable I am with stillness. For years, I've used my phone every time I've had a spare moment in an elevator or a boring meeting. I listen to podcasts and write emails on the subway. I watch YouTube videos while folding laundry. I even use an app to pretend to meditate. If I was going to repair my brain, I needed to practice doing nothing. Another science journalist helped him through "phone rehab," and "now, the physical world excites me, too -- the one that has room for boredom, idle hands and space for thinking." After a final 48 hour digital detox, "I also felt twinges of anger -- at myself, for missing out on this feeling of restorative boredom for so many years; at the engineers in Silicon Valley who spend their days profitably exploiting our cognitive weaknesses; at the entire phone-industrial complex that has convinced us that a six-inch glass-and-steel rectangle is the ideal conduit for worldly experiences... "Steve Jobs wasn't exaggerating when he described the iPhone as a kind of magical object, and it's truly wild that in the span of a few years, we've managed to turn these amazing talismanic tools into stress-inducing albatrosses. It's as if scientists had invented a pill that gave us the ability to fly, only to find out that it also gave us dementia." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Samsung's Newest Phones Read Your Fingerprints With Ultrasonic Sound Waves - An anonymous reader quotes CNET: The Galaxy S10's in-screen fingerprint scanner may look just like the one on the OnePlus 6T, but don't be fooled. Samsung's flagship Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus are the first phones to use Qualcomm's ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint technology, which uses sound waves to read your print. Related to ultrasound in a doctor's office, this "3D Sonic Sensor" technology works by bouncing sound waves off your skin. It'll capture your details through water, lotion and grease, at night or in bright daylight. Qualcomm also claims it's faster and much more secure than the optical fingerprint sensor you've seen in other phones before this. That's because the ultrasonic reader takes a 3D capture of all the ridges and valleys that make up your skin, compared to a 2D image -- basically a photo -- that an optical reader captures using light, not sound waves. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Amazon Prime Air Cargo Plane Crashes in Texas, Three Dead - An anonymous reader quotes Weather.com: An Amazon Prime Air cargo plane crashed Saturday afternoon into Trinity Bay near Anahuac, Texas, as it approached Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Three crew members aboard the plane did not survive the crash, the Chamber County sheriff told WJTV. Air traffic controllers lost radar and radio contact with Atlas Air Flight 3591 shortly before 12:45 p.m. CST. The 767 jetliner was arriving from Miami when the crash occurred 30 miles southeast of the airport, according to a statement by the Federal Aviation Administration. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
New Material Can Soak Up Uranium From Seawater - A new adsorbent material "soaks up uranium from seawater, leaving interfering ions behind," reports the ACS's Chemical & Engineering News, in an article shared by webofslime: The world's oceans contain some 4 billion metric tons of dissolved uranium. That's roughly 1,000 times as much as all known terrestrial sources combined, and enough to fuel the global nuclear power industry for centuries. But the oceans are so vast, and uranium's concentration in seawater is so low -- roughly 3 ppb -- that extracting it remains a formidable challenge... Researchers have been looking for ways to extract uranium from seawater for more than 50 years... Nearly 20 years ago, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) confirmed that amidoxime-functionalized polymers could soak up uranium reliably even under harsh marine conditions. But that type of adsorbent has not been implemented on a large scale because it has a higher affinity for vanadium than uranium. Separating the two ions raises production costs. Alexander S. Ivanov of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, together with colleagues there and at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and other institutions, may have come up with a solution. Using computational methods, the team identified a highly selective triazine chelator known as H2BHT that resembles iron-sequestering compounds found in bacteria and fungi.... H2BHT exhibits little attraction for vanadium but has roughly the same affinity for uranyl ions as amidoxime-based adsorbents do. Read more of this story at Slashdot.