2018-07-01 00:00:00 ..
2018-10-19 05:37:17 UTC
2018-10-20 14:37:07 UTC
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President Donald Trump announced Saturday that the US is pulling out of the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia, a decades-old agreement that has drawn the ire of the President.
[...] The treaty forced both countries to eliminate ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between approximately 300 and 3,400 miles. It offered a blanket of protection to the United States' European allies and marked a watershed agreement between two nations at the center of the arms race during the Cold War.
Former State Department spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby, a CNN military and diplomatic analyst, explained that the treaty "wasn't designed to solve all of our problems with the Soviet Union," but was "designed to provide a measure of some strategic stability on the continent of Europe."
"It's the dirt that does it."
President Donald Trump has warned that the US will bolster its nuclear arsenal to put pressure on Russia and China. Speaking to reporters, he repeated his belief that Russia has violated the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, which he has threatened to leave. Russia denies this.
The Cold War-era treaty banned medium-range missiles, reducing the perceived Soviet threat to European nations.
Russia has warned it will respond in kind if the US develops more weapons. Mr Trump said the US would build up its arsenal "until people come to their senses".
[...] Meanwhile, US National Security Adviser John Bolton has been holding talks in Moscow after Russia condemned the US plan to quit the deal. Mr Bolton was told that the US withdrawal would be a "serious blow" to the non-proliferation regime.
Researchers at Michigan State University report — Don't offer co-workers help unless asked:
If you thought that proactively offering help to your co-workers was a good thing, think again. New workplace research from Michigan State University found that when it comes to offering your expertise, it's better to keep to yourself or wait until you're asked.
[...] "What we found was that on the helper side, when people engage in proactive help, they often don't have a clear understanding of recipients' problems and issues, thus they receive less gratitude for it," Johnson said. "On the recipient side, if people are constantly coming up to me at work and asking if I want their help, it could have an impact on my esteem and become frustrating. I'm not going to feel inclined to thank the person who tried to help me because I didn't ask for it."
In a strange sort of symmetry, it's also better to not proactively sabotage your co-workers, either; wait until they ask for it.
Hun Whee Lee, Jacob Bradburn, Russell E. Johnson, Szu-Han (Joanna) Lin, Chu-Hsiang (Daisy) Chang. The benefits of receiving gratitude for helpers: A daily investigation of proactive and reactive helping at work.. Journal of Applied Psychology, 2018; DOI: 10.1037/apl0000346
Using ferroelectricity instead of magnetism in computer memory saves energy. If ferroelectric bits were nanosized, this would also save space. But conventional wisdom dictates that ferroelectric properties disappear when the bits are made smaller. Reports that hafnium oxide can be used to make a nanoscale ferroelectric have not yet convinced the field. University of Groningen (UG) physicists have now gathered evidence that could persuade the skeptics. It was published in Nature Materials on 22 October.
[...] 'Reducing the size of ferroelectric materials has been a research topic for more than 20 years', says UG Professor of Functional Nanomaterials, Beatriz Noheda. Some eight years ago, a breakthrough was announced by the Nanoelectronic Materials Laboratory in Dresden, Germany. They claimed that hafnium oxide thin films were ferroelectric when thinner than ten nanometres and that thicker films actually lost their ferroelectric properties. Noheda: 'This went against everything we knew, so most scientists were skeptical, including me.' Some of the skepticism was because the ferroelectric hafnium samples used in these studies were polycrystalline and showed multiple phases, obscuring any clear fundamental understanding of such an unconventional phenomenon.
Noheda and her group decided to investigate. They wanted to study these crystals by growing clean (single-phase) films on a substrate. Using X-ray scattering and high-resolution electron microscopy techniques, they observed that very thin films (under ten nanometres) grow in an entirely unexpected and previously unknown polar structure, which is necessary for ferroelectricity. Combining these observations with meticulous transport measurements, they confirmed that the material was indeed ferroelectric. 'In the substrate that we used, the atoms were a little bit closer than those in hafnium oxide, so the hafnium crystals would be a little strained', Noheda explains.
A rhombohedral ferroelectric phase in epitaxially strained Hf0.5Zr0.5O2 thin films (DOI: 10.1038/s41563-018-0196-0) (DX)
Brendan Iribe, the co-founder and former CEO of Oculus, announced today that he is leaving Facebook, TechCrunch has learned.
Iribe is leaving Facebook following some internal shake-ups in the company's virtual reality arm last week that saw the cancellation of the company's next generation "Rift 2" PC-powered virtual reality headset, which he had been leading development of, a source close to the matter told TechCrunch.
Iribe and the Facebook executive team had "fundamentally different views on the future of Oculus that grew deeper over time," and Iribe wasn't interested in a "race to the bottom" in terms of performance, we are told.
[...] The cancellation of the company's next-gen PC-based "Rift 2" virtual reality product showcases how the interests of Facebook's executive leadership have centered on all-in-one headsets that don't require a connection to an external PC or phone. In May, Oculus released the $199 Oculus Go headset and plans to release the $399 Oculus Quest headset sometime next spring.
The Guardian reports:
Georgia secretary of state and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp improperly purged more than 340,000 voters from the state's registration rolls, an investigation charges.
Greg Palast, a journalist and the director of the Palast Investigative Fund, said an analysis he commissioned found 340,134 voters were removed from the rolls on the grounds that they had moved - but they actually still live at the address where they are registered.
"Their registration is cancelled. Not pending, not inactive – cancelled. If they show up to vote on 6 November, they will not be allowed to vote. That's wrong," Palast told reporters on a call on Friday. "We can prove they're still there. They should be allowed to vote."
[...] Palast and the Georgia Coalition for the People's Agenda filed a lawsuit against Kemp on Friday to force him to release additional records related to the state's removal of voters.
Under Georgia procedures, registered voters who have not cast ballots for three years are sent a notice asking them to confirm they still live at their address. If they don't return it, they are marked inactive. If they don't vote for two more general elections after that, they are removed from the rolls.
Joachim Roenneberg, serving behind enemy lines in his native Norway during the German occupation, in 1943 blew up a plant producing heavy water, or D2O, a hydrogen-rich substance that was key to the later development of atomic bombs.
Picked by Britain's war-time Special Operations Executive to lead the raid when he was only 23 years old, Roenneberg was the youngest member of Operation Gunnerside, which penetrated and destroyed key parts of the heavily guarded Norsk Hydro plant.
The subject of books and documentaries as well as movies and a TV drama series, the attack took place without a single shot fired.
At the very least, Operation Gunnerside should be recognized as one of the most successful SOE missions during World War II. For a mission that Rønneberg and his squad frequently imagined as a one-way trip, the operation experienced no casualties and succeeded in temporarily destroying the Germans' single source of heavy water at the time. During wartime, time is of the essence and any kind of setback has disadvantages. Rønneberg later commented that London could have suffered a different fate and ended up 'looking like Hiroshima' if his team had failed.
We are starting to see some exciting possibilities in the field of robotic construction and how, as well as taking some of the load off human hands, it might give rise to an entirely new branch of architecture. The Fiberbots developed at MIT are one impressive example of this, building self-supporting tubular structures from the ground up, which automatically adjust their shape and orientation as they go.
[...] The Fiberbots number 16 in total and each is fitted with a spooling mechanism that wraps the robot's cylindrical body in a mix of fiber and resin, just like a fishing reel being wound in. As each section sets, the body is driven up through the tube to start a fresh section on top.
A human controller sets some basic design parameters pertaining to how they want the finished structure to look, and a mix of algorithms and sensors then dictate the length and curvature of the Fiberbots as they wind upwards, preventing them from getting in each others' path. The system was put to the test in creating a 14.7-foot tall structure that stood undamaged through a harsh Massachusetts' winter.
Human-directed tube worms are now possible. Yay, science.
FIBERBOTS: Design and Digital Fabrication of Tubular Structures Using Robot Swarms[$] (DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-92294-2_22)
Earlier this year Cadence and Micron performed the industry's first public demonstration of next-generation DDR5 memory. At a TSMC event earlier this month the two companies provided some updates concerning development of the new memory technology. As it appears, the spec has not been finalized at JEDEC yet, but Micron still expects to start production of DDR5 memory chips in late 2019.
As noted back in May, the primary feature of DDR5 SDRAM is capacity of chips, not just a higher performance and a lower power consumption. DDR5 is expected to bring in I/O speeds of 4266 to 6400 MT/s, with a supply voltage drop to 1.1 V and an allowable fluctuation range of 3% (i.e., at ±0.033V). It is also expected to use two independent 32/40-bit channels per module (without/or with ECC). Furthermore, DDR5 will have an improved command bus efficiency (because the channels will have their own 7-bit Address (Add)/Command (Cmd) buses), better refresh schemes, and an increased bank group for additional performance. In fact, Cadence goes as far as saying that improved functionality of DDR5 will enable a 36% higher real-world bandwidth when compared to DDR4 even at 3200 MT/s (this claim will have to be put to a test) and once 4800 MT/s speed kicks in, the actual bandwidth will be 87% higher when compared to DDR4-3200. In the meantime, one of the most important features of DDR5 will be monolithic chip density beyond 16 Gb.
Leading DRAM makers already have monolithic DDR4 chips featuring a 16 Gb capacity, but those devices cannot offer extreme clocks or I/O speeds because of laws of physics. Therefore, companies like Micron have a lot of work to do in a bid to bring together high DRAM densities and performance in the DDR5 era. In particular, Micron is concerned about variable retention time, and other atomic level occurrences, once production technologies used for DRAM reach 10 – 12 nm. Meanwhile, the DDR5 Add/Cmd bus already features on-die termination to make signals cleaner and to improve stability at high data rates. Furthermore, high-end DDR5 DIMMs will have their own voltage regulators and PMICs. Long story short, while the DDR5 standard is tailored to wed performance and densities, there is still a lot of magic to be done by DRAM manufacturers.
SpaceX's launch manifest for the remainder of 2018 is beginning to take shape. The company has five launches remaining on its schedule for the year. Executing all of them would take SpaceX's 2018 launch total to 22 – surpassing the launch provider's previous record of 18 launches in a single year.
The next mission on SpaceX's manifest is Es'hail 2. Scheduled for no earlier than November 14th, a Falcon 9 will launch the communications spacecraft from Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center for the Qatar Satellite Company. [...] The launch will be the first from Pad 39A since Bangabandhu-1 on May 11th of this year. Since then, the launch complex has been undergoing renovations to support NASA's Commercial Crew Program. Notable changes include the addition of a crew access arm and raising of the Emergency Egress System (EES).
[...] Just five days later, a Falcon 9 will launch Spaceflight Industries' SSO-A mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The launch will feature over 70 small payloads. Traditionally, small satellites have either launched on smaller launch vehicles or as rideshares with a larger payload. However, the SSO-A mission will combine numerous smaller payloads into one dedicated launch. Currently, the launch is targeting a liftoff time of 18:30 UTC on November 19th.
Interestingly, SpaceX's Vice President of Mission Assurance, Hans Koneigsmann, stated at the 2018 International Astronautical Congress that the SSO-A mission may feature a first stage booster being flown for the third time. Previously, SpaceX has only flown the same core twice. If SSO-A is the first to feature a milestone third flight of the same booster, then the launch would have to utilize either B1046 or B1048. Those are the only two Block 5 boosters in SpaceX's fleet which have already flown twice. B1048 would be the most likely candidate out of the pair, given that it has already been performing launches out of Vandenberg.
The SSO-A launch carrying 70 small payloads to orbit will be one to watch. The Iridium-8 launch scheduled for December 30 will be SpaceX's final launch for the Iridium NEXT constellation of satellites.
A team of researchers at The University of Texas at Austin has demonstrated a new way to sequence proteins that is much more sensitive than existing technology, identifying individual protein molecules rather than requiring millions of molecules at a time. The advance could have a major impact in biomedical research, making it easier to reveal new biomarkers for the diagnosis of cancer and other diseases, as well as enhance our understanding of how healthy cells function.
[...] The current laboratory standard for sequencing proteins, using a tool called mass spectrometry, is not sensitive for many applications — it can detect a protein only if there are about a million copies of it. It also has a "low throughput," meaning it can detect only a few thousand distinct protein types in a single sample.
With this new method, called single molecule fluorosequencing, researchers can now sequence millions of individual protein molecules simultaneously in a single sample. Marcotte believes with future refinements the number of molecules that could be detected in a sample could reach into the billions. With higher throughput and much greater sensitivity than existing technology, the tool should allow for greater detection of biomarkers of disease and would also make it possible to study things such as cancer in a whole new way. For example, researchers could look, cell-by-cell, to understand how a tumor evolves from a small mass of identical cells to a soup of genetically divergent cells, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Such insights could inspire novel ways to attack cancer.
Highly parallel single-molecule identification of proteins in zeptomole-scale mixtures (DOI: 10.1038/nbt.4278) (DX)
A tiny Mars-approaching spacecraft has snapped a photo of its target, marking the first time that a cubesat has ever captured an image of the Red Planet. One of NASA's two briefcase-size Mars Cube One (MarCO) cubesats acquired the image on Oct. 2, when it was about 8 million miles (12.8 million kilometers) from the Red Planet, agency officials said.
The MarCO twins — officially known as MarCO-A and MarCO-B, but nicknamed "Eve" and "Wall-E," respectively, after characters in the 2008 Pixar film "Wall-E" — launched with NASA's InSight Mars lander in early May. The main goal of the MarCO mission is to prove that cubesats, whose operations to date have been restricted to Earth orbit, can indeed make the long trek to the Red Planet. Their success could help pave the way for much greater activity in deep space by small, low-cost spacecraft, mission team members have said.
[...] MarCO-B (Wall-E) took the newly released image to test the exposure settings of a wide-angle camera, NASA officials added in the same statement.
The MarCO duo will attempt to relay home to Earth data from InSight during the lander's Mars-touchdown attempt, which will take place on Nov. 26. But this is not a crucial duty; other NASA spacecraft, such as the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, will do this work as well.
Previously: NASA Launches InSight Mission to Study the Interior of Mars
CubeSats -- En Route to Mars with InSight -- Snap Another "Pale Blue Dot" Image
NASA's MarCO CubeSats Perform Trajectory Correction Maneuvers Towards Mars
Today, Elon Musk announced via Twitter that the first Boring Company test tunnel under Los Angeles is almost finished. When it's complete, the system will be able to carry pedestrians, cyclists and private vehicles at speeds of 155 mph. People will be able to try the loop out for free at a special event at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, CA, on December 10th.
Related: Washington, D.C. Granted Elon Musk's Boring Company an Excavation Permit for Possible Hyperloop
Elon Musk's Boring Company Wins Chicago O'Hare International Airport Transportation Contract
Elon Musk's Boring Bricks
Earlier today, it was reported that Intel is cancelling its troublesome 10nm manufacturing process. In an unusual response, the company has tweeted an official denial of the claims.
[...] The company's most recent estimate is that 10nm will go into volume production in the second half of 2019. The report from SemiAccurate cites internal sources saying that this isn't going to happen: while there may be a few 10nm chips, for the most part Intel is going to skip to its 7nm process.
Typically, Intel doesn't respond to rumors, but this one appears to be an exception. The company is tweeting that it's making "good progress" on 10nm and that yields are improving consistent with the guidance the company provided on its last earnings report. Intel's next earnings report is on Thursday, and we're likely to hear more about 10nm's progress then.
Related: Intel's "Tick-Tock" Strategy Stalls, 10nm Chips Delayed (it has been over 3 years since this article was posted)
Moore's Law: Not Dead? Intel Says its 10nm Chips Will Beat Samsung's
Intel's First 8th Generation Processors Are Just Updated 7th Generation Chips
Intel Releases Open Letter in Attempt to Address Shortage of "14nm" Processors and "10nm" Delays
[A] new study in Nature Geoscience posits that it's possible that Mars may have enough oxygen to harbor life under its surface.
The team was led by Vlada Stamenković from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and their findings stemmed from two different discoveries. We know there's a possibility that there are subsurface lakes of briny water on Mars; one in particular may be located under the Martian polar ice cap. This means there's a lot of potential for oxygen within these lakes, if they exist.
Back in 2016, the Mars Curiosity rover discovered that Mars may once have had an oxygen-rich atmosphere, but the loss of its magnetic field meant that the bulk of its surface oxygen escaped. However, there is still oxygen within the planet's rocks which means that it may be present underneath the surface of the planet.
After NASA's Hubble Space Telescope entered "safe" mode about two weeks ago, its operations team has been scrambling to bring a balky gyroscope back online. Now, the space agency says it believes it has fixed the problem.
[...] Hubble has three pairs of two gyroscopes, with each pair consisting of a primary and back-up gyroscope. Moreover, in each pair, one of the gyroscopes is of an "old" design, while the other is an "enhanced" (or newer) design intended to last for a longer period of time. After the failure this month, all three of the "old" design gyros have stopped working. This left NASA with two enhanced gyros that were functioning normally and one that had acted up more than seven years ago before being taken out of service at that time. The Hubble telescope can operate on just a single gyro, but three working ones are optimal for normal operations.
During the last two weeks, operators have been trying to bring this third, previously balky gyro back online. And they're now reporting some success. Within the gyroscope is a wheel spinning rapidly inside a sealed cylinder, and some blockage in the fluid around this cylinder appeared to be causing erroneously high spin rates. A series of maneuvers—including turns in opposite directions—seems to have cleared any blockage.