Submission + - The Ordinary Engineering Behind the Horrifying Florida Bridge Collapse (wired.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The people of Sweetwater, Florida were supposed to wait until early 2019 for the Florida International University-Sweetwater University City Bridge to open. Instead, they will wait about that long for an official assessment from the National Transportation Safety Board of why it collapsed just five days after its installation, killing at least six people. In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, many queries have centered on the unconventional technique used to build the bridge, something called Accelerated Bridge Construction, or ABC. But ABC is more complicated than its acronym suggests—and it’s hardly brand new. ABC refers to dozens of construction methods, but at its core, it’s about drastically reducing on-site construction time. Mostly, that relies on pre-fabricating things like concrete decks, abutments, walls, barriers, and concrete topped steel girders, and hauling them to the work site. There, cranes or specialized vehicles known as Self-Propelled Modular Transporter install them. A video posted online by Florida International University, which helped fund the bridge connects to its campus, showed an SPMT lifting and then lowering the span into place.

In a now-deleted press release, the university called the “largest pedestrian bridge moved via SPMT in US history,” but that doesn’t seem to mean much, engineering-wise. SPMTs have been around since the 1970s, and have moved much heavier loads. In 2017, workers used a 600-axle SPMT to salvage the 17,000 ton ferry that sank off the coast of South Korea in 2014. The ABC technique is much more expensive than building things in place, but cities and places like FIU like it for a specific reason: Because most of the work happens far away, traffic goes mostly unperturbed. When years- or months-long construction projects can have serious effects on businesses and homes, governments might make up the money in the long run. Workers installed this collapsed span in just a few hours. These accelerated techniques are also much safer for workers, who do most their work well away from active roads.

Submission + - CEO of encryption services company arrested.

BitterOak writes: Vincent Ramos, CEO of the Vancouver company Phantom Secure was arrested in Washington on March 7. He is accused of selling encryption technology which was used in the facilitation of drug trafficking. It is the first time someone in America has been arrested for selling encryption technology which was subsequently used in the illegal drug trade.

According to the article: "Phantom Secure, which has a public website promoting its encrypted email and chat service plans, advertised its products as 'impervious to decryption, wiretapping or legal third-party records requests,' according to court documents."

Submission + - Power Outage At Samsung's Fab Destroys 3.5 Percent of Global NAND Flash Output (anandtech.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A half-hour power outage at Samsung’s fab near Pyeongtaek, South Korea, disrupted production and damaged tens of thousands of processed wafers. Media reports claim that the outage destroyed as much as 3.5% of the global NAND supply for March, which may have an effect on flash memory pricing in the coming weeks. The outage happened on March 9 and lasted for about 30 minutes, according to a news story from Taiwain-based TechNews that cites further South Korean reports. The report claims that the outage damaged 50,000 to 60,000 of wafers with V-NAND flash memory, which represent 11% of Samsung’s monthly output. The report further estimates that the said amount equates to approximately 3.5% of global NAND output, but does not elaborate whether it means wafer output or bit output. Samsung uses its fab near Pyeongtaek to produce 64-layer V-NAND chips used for various applications. The fab is among the largest flash production facilities in the world and therefore any disruption there has an effect on the global output of non-volatile memory. Meanwhile, since production lines have not been damaged and the fab is back online, the significance of such an effect is limited.

Submission + - Plattsburgh, New York Passed the First Bitcoin Mining Ban In the US (vice.com)

An anonymous reader writes: On Thursday evening, the city council in Plattsburgh, New York unanimously voted to impose an 18-month moratorium on Bitcoin mining in the city. Mining is the extremely energy-intensive computational process that secures the Bitcoin blockchain and rewards miners with bitcoins. The Bitcoin moratorium was proposed by Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read earlier this month after local residents began reporting wildly inflated electricity bills in January. The moratorium affects only new commercial Bitcoin operations and will not affect companies that are already mining in the city.

Submission + - How a Norwegian comment section turned chaos into order—with a simple quiz (arstechnica.com)

jebrick writes: The five-person team behind a simple WordPress plugin, which took three hours to code, never expected to receive worldwide attention as a result. But NRKbeta, the tech-testing group at Norway's largest national media organization, tapped into a meaty vein with the unveiling of last February's Know2Comment, an open source plugin that can attach to any WordPress site's comment section.

"It was a basic idea," NRKbeta developer Ståle Grut told a South By Southwest crowd on Tuesday. "Readers had to prove they read a story before they were able to comment on it."

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Are There Any USB-C Wireless Video Solutions?

jez9999 writes: Sometimes it feels like we're on the cusp of a technology but not quite there yet, and that's the way it feels for me after searching around for USB-C wireless video solutions. There are several wireless video solutions that use HDMI on the receiver end, of course, but these aren't ideal because HDMI can't provide power. This means you need a separate receiver box and power cable going into the box, but cables are what you're trying to get away from with wireless video!

So the answer to this would seem to be USB-C. It supports HDMI video as well as power, so in theory you could create a receiver dongle that just plugged into a TV (or monitor with speakers) and required no external power cable. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find anything like this on the market.

There is Airtame, but that doesn't work with a "dumb" TV — it needs to plug in to a computer that you can install software on to stream the video. What I'd like is to be able to wall-mount a new TV and just plug in a wireless dongle to stream the video with no extra setup required on the receiver end.

Does anyone know of a solution like this that exists right now, or one that's being developed?

Submission + - Man fined for implanting NFC train ticket in hand (cnet.com)

Unhappy Windows User writes: An Australian man, when checked by a ticket inspector, claimed his smartcard was implanted in his hand. He took the case to court and lost; the fine and legal fees add up to AUD 1220 (USD 950). The man, who self-identifies as a biohacker and is a member of the Science Party, accepts the ruling but states that it won't discourage him from further biohacking. He claimed he was ahead of the law. The prosecution argued that, by cutting the chip out of the card, the ticket was invalidated. It is not clear from the article whether the NFC chip was working correctly and could be read by the inspector, or not.

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