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Submission + - Secret Doc Shows China Promising to Give Nukes to North Korea (lifezette.com) 1

schwit1 writes: Chinese officials continue to supply North Korea with needed supplies such as oil and promise to give the dictatorial regime on its northeast border more nuclear missiles, according to a secret government document.

“The document, labeled ‘top secret’ and dated September 15 — 12 days after North Korea’s latest underground nuclear blast — outlines China’s plan for dealing with the North Korean nuclear issue,”

“It states China will allow North Korea to keep its current arsenal of nuclear weapons, contrary to Beijing’s public stance that it seeks a denuclearized Korean peninsula. Chinese leaders also agreed to offer new assurances that the North Korean government will not be allowed to collapse, and that Beijing plans to apply sanctions ‘symbolically’ to avoid punishing the regime of leader Kim Jong-un under a recent U.N. resolution requiring a halt to oil and gas shipments into North Korea.”

In return, China only asked North Korea to halt its current nuclear testing program.

Submission + - NASA Readies Clipper Mission To Europa (msn.com)

schwit1 writes: NASA is still on track to use its new Space Launch System (SLS) to launch its $2 billion-plus ‘Clipper’ mission to Jupiter’s moon of Europa. That might even happen as early as Spring of 2022 and would involve a direct two and a half year transfer to Jupiter. Over a three and a half year period, the spacecraft would use a long orbit around Jupiter to do 46 reconnaissance flybys of Europa at altitudes varying from 2700 to 25 kilometers above the moon’s frozen surface.

The aim is to use this three and a half year reconnaissance phase of the mission to search Europa for signs of a subsurface liquid ocean and for habitability. Many astrobiologists still think that this beguiling moon offers the best chance of finding life elsewhere in our solar system.

And if NASA launches a follow-on Europa lander mission, astrobiologists may find biological treasure in one of its Europa samples long before a Mars sample-return mission could be attempted.

Submission + - World's biggest nuclear plant gets long-awaited OK (theguardian.com)

schwit1 writes: The biggest nuclear power plant in the world sits idle, as it has for nearly seven years. But that state is set to change, and not without public trepidation.

The Guardian reports that Japan's nuclear watchdog this week gave Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) the green light to restart two of the seven reactors at Kashiwazaki-kariwa, which fell victim to the country's nuclear power moratorium in the wake of the March 2011 Fukushima disaster.

That calamity occurred on TEPCO's watch, and the utility says the money it will generate from Kashiwazaki-kariwa's power is key to funding its continuing decommissioning efforts at Fukushima.

It has poured more than $6 billion into Kashiwazaki-kariwa in an effort to make it immune to the series of disasters that befell Fukushima. A 50-foot seawall provides tsunami protection, for instance, and 22,000 tons of water sit in a nearby reservoir, ready for the taking if reactors need sudden cooling.

Submission + - Female Developer sues Women Who Code and Google Women Techmakers for Defamation (medium.com) 1

_Sharp'r_ writes: Marlene Jaeckel, co-founder of Polyglot Programming, is suing for defamation of character after being silenced and kicked out of Google Developer Group, Google Women Techmakers, Rails Girls ATL and Women Who Code because of her political views and especially her friendship and public support for former Google employee James Damore. The ban is controversial among group members.

Submission + - Docker is Dead (chrisshort.net)

oaf357 writes: To say that Docker had a very rough 2017 is an understatement. Aside from Uber, I can’t think of a more utilized, hyped, and well funded Silicon Valley startup (still in operation) fumbling as bad as Docker did in 2017. People will look back on 2017 as the year Docker, a great piece of software, was completely ruined by bad business practices leading to its end in 2018. This is an outside facing retrospective on how and where Docker went wrong and how Docker’s efforts to fix it are far too little way too late.

Submission + - A 'Game Changer' for Patients With Irregular Heart Rhythm (nytimes.com)

schwit1 writes: The patients were gravely ill, their hearts scarred by infections or heart attacks. In each, the electrical system that maintains a regular heartbeat had been short-circuited.

They suffered frequent bursts of rapid heartbeats, which can end in sudden death. The condition kills an estimated 325,000 Americans each year, the most common cause of death in this country. And these people had exhausted all conventional treatments.

So researchers at Washington University in St. Louis offered the patients something experimental: short bursts of radiation aimed at their hearts in an effort to obliterate the cells that were causing the electrical malfunctions.

Results in the first five patients were published on Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, and the experiment seems to have worked — offering hope to similar patients everywhere who have had no alternatives except a heart transplant.

The treatment requires weeks to take full effect, so it cannot be used for cardiac patients who need immediate help. And the method must be studied in larger groups of patients over longer times, an effort that has already begun.

Submission + - 32 Tesla reached in all superconducting magnet (nationalmaglab.org)

ElGuapo2872 writes: TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Long in the habit of smashing records, the National MagLab just chalked up a new one. On Dec. 8, a ground-breaking superconducting magnet designed and built at the lab reached a magnetic field of 32 teslas (a unit of magnetic field strength), a third stronger than the previous record and more than 3,000 times stronger than a small refrigerator magnet.

The feat is important for the new scientific discoveries it will enable and the even stronger superconducting magnets its technology foreshadows.

Made of a combination of conventional “low-temperature” and novel “high-temperature” superconductors, the “32 T” will allow physicists studying materials to explore how electrons interact with each other and their atomic environment, enabling new devices that will shape our world.

YBCO insert for 32T.
The 32 T’s two YBCO coils before being integrated with the low-temperature outer magnet.

For decades, the world record for a superconducting magnet has inched forward incrementally. This single leap is bigger than all the improvements made over the past 40 years combined.

"This is a transformational step in magnet technology, a true revolution in the making," said MagLab Director Greg Boebinger. “Not only will this state-of-the-art magnet design allow us to offer new experimental techniques here at the lab, but it will boost the power of other scientific tools such as X-rays and neutron scattering around the world.”

It has been a remarkable year for the MagLab, noted Boebinger: The 32 T is the third world-record magnet tested in the past 13 months, following a 41.4-tesla resistive magnet tested last summer and the 36-tesla Series Connected Hybrid magnet that reached full field in November 2016.

“We’re on a roll,” said Boebinger.

The new magnet represents a milestone in high-temperature superconductivity, a phenomenon that made a tremendous stir in the science community when it was first discovered 31 years ago.

Superconductors are materials that conduct electricity with perfect efficiency (unlike copper, in which electrons encounter lots of friction). So-called “low-temperature” superconductors, discovered a century ago, work only in extremely cold environments and generally stop working inside magnetic fields higher than about 25 teslas. That constraint has limited the strength of superconducting magnets.

But in 1986 scientists discovered the first high-temperature superconductors, which not only work at warmer temperatures but — more importantly for magnet designers and scientists — also keep working in very high magnetic fields.

Three decades later, the new 32-tesla magnet is one of the first major applications to come out of that Nobel Prize-winning discovery.

Installing the 32-telsa magnet.
The 32 T is lowered into its cryostat, which keeps the instrument at a very cold operating temperature.

The 32 T was built using low-temperature superconductors made by industry partner Oxford Instruments and a high-temperature superconductor called YBCO, composed of yttrium, barium, copper and oxygen, made by SuperPower Inc. MagLab scientists and engineers worked for years to develop the tricky material, which is electrically and mechanically completely different than low-temperature superconductors. New techniques had to be developed for insulating, reinforcing and de-energizing the system.

For all its record-breaking impact, the 32 T is just the beginning, said MagLab engineer Huub Weijers, who oversaw its construction.

"We've opened up an enormous new realm," said Weijers. "I don't know what that limit is, but it's beyond 100 teslas. The required materials exist. It's just technology and dollars that are between us and 100 teslas."

As a superconducting magnet, the 32 T features a very stable, homogenous field suitable for sensitive experiments. Combining strength and stability, it offers researchers the best of both worlds.

"The new system, and the magnets that will follow, will give scientists access to insights never before possible," said physicist Laura Greene, the MagLab's chief scientist. "We expect it to break new ground in a variety of research areas. Physicists are especially excited about advances in quantum matter, which features new and technologically important ultra-thin materials, as well as exotic new states of matter in topological materials and complex magnetic materials.”

Eight years in the making, the new instrument is expected to be available to visiting scientists in the next year. As with all magnets at the lab, scientists from across the world can apply to use it to explore new physics, chemistry and biology related to materials, health and energy. Through funding provided by the National Science Foundation and the State of Florida, researchers are able to do their experiments here for free. Scientists interested in learning more about the 32 T’s capabilities or applying to use it should contact DC Field Facility Director Tim Murphy.

Submission + - Artificial Intelligence machine can identify 2 BILLION people in seconds (dailystar.co.uk) 2

schwit1 writes: Yitu Technology has made an AI algorithm that can connect to millions of surveillance cameras and instantly recognise people.

The company – based in Shanghai, China – developed Dragonfly Eye to scan through millions of photographs that have been logged in the country’s national database.

This means it has a collection of 1.8 billion photos on file, including visitors to the country and those taken at ports and airports.

The cutting-edge technology is now being used track down criminals, with the early stages of use showing it has been a hugely successful.

Submission + - Searchable DB of 1.4 billion stolen credentials found on dark web (itworldcanada.com) 2

YVRGeek writes: A security vendor has discovered a huge list of easily searchable stolen credentials in cleartext on the dark web which it fears could lead to a new wave of cyber attacks.

Julio Casal, co-founder of identity threat intelligence provider 4iQ, which has offices in Calfornia and Spain, said in a Dec. 8 blog his firm found the database of 1.4 billion username and password pairs while scanning the dark web for stolen, leaked or lost data.

He said the company has verified at least a group of credentials are legitimate.

What is alarming is the file is what he calls “an aggregated, interactive database that allows for fast (one second response) searches and new breach imports.” For example, searching for “admin,” “administrator” and “root” returned 226,631 passwords of admin users in a few seconds. As a result, the database can help attackers automate account hijacking or account takeover.

Submission + - NASA Readies Big Announcement on Possible Alien Life (infosurhoy.com) 1

schwit1 writes: NASA has announced a press conference for Thursday and is expected to confirm a major discovery about life beyond earth.

The announcement will be made by the team of scientists who have been studying the several thousand planets discovered by the Kepler space telescope. Kepler is the most successful planet-hunting probe in history, having identified more than 2500 planets with another 2000 candidates that still need to be studied.

Kepler has found several planets orbiting their star in the so-called "Goldilocks Zone," where it is warm enough for liquid water to flow. The announcement may be related to one of those planets.

In issuing the release on the press conference, NASA pointed to a new way of analyzing data from Kepler.

The team at the Kepler Space Telescope has been searching for extra-terrestrial life since 2009, and now they have found something spell bounding. In the course of time, the telescope has found many Earth-sized planets on the habitable zone, and researchers believe that some of them have the possibility to support life. According to NASA officials, this startling discovery was made using machine learning supported by Google.

“The discovery was made by researchers using machine learning from Google. Machine learning is an approach to artificial intelligence, and demonstrates new ways of analyzing Kepler data,” wrote NASA officials in a recently released press release.


Submission + - "Watershed" Medical Trial Proves Type 2 Diabetes Can Be Reversed (bbc.com)

dryriver writes: For those suffering from type 2 Diabetes, there is good news. Nearly half of the participants in a watershed trial of a new Diabetes treatment were able to reverse their affliction. The method is quite simple — an all liquid diet that causes participants to lose a lot of weight, followed by a carefully controlled diet of real solid foods. Four times a day, a sachet of powder is stirred in water to make a soup or shake. They contain about 200 calories, but also the right balance of nutrients. If the patient can keep away from other foods long enough, there is a chance of reversing type 2 Diabetes completely. Prof Roy Taylor, from Newcastle University, told the BBC: "It's a real watershed moment. Before we started this line of work, doctors and specialists regarded type 2 as irreversible. But if we grasp the nettle and get people out of their dangerous state (being overweight), they can get remission of diabetes." However, doctors are not calling this a cure. If the weight goes back on, then the diabetes will return. The trial only looked at people diagnosed with Diabetes in the last six years. Doctors believe — but do no know with absolute certainty yet — that in people who have had the affliction much longer than that, there may be too much permanent damage to make remission possible.

Submission + - First AMD Ryzen Mobile Laptop Tested Shows Strong Zen-Vega Performance (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: AMD Ryzen Mobile processors are arriving now in retail laptops from the likes of HP, Lenovo and Acer. With the first CPUs to hit the market, AMD took quad-core Ryzen and coupled it with 8 or 10-core Vega GPUs on a single piece of silicon, in an effort to deliver a combination of strong Ryzen CPU performance along with significantly better integrated graphics performance over Intel's current 8th Gen Kaby Lake laptop chips. AMD Ryzen 7 2700U and Ryzen 5 2500U chips have 4MB of shared L3 cache each, but differ with respect to top end CPU boost clock speeds, number of integrated Radeon Vega Compute Units (CUs), and the GPU's top-end clocks. Ryzen 7 2700U is more powerful with 10 Radeon Vega CUs, while Ryzen 5 2500U sports 8. Ryzen 7 2700U also boosts to 3.8GHz, while Ryzen 5 2500U tops out at 3.6GHz. In the benchmarks, Ryzen Mobile looks strong, competing well with Intel quad-core 8th Gen laptop CPUs, while offering north of 60 percent better performance in graphics and gaming. Battery life is still a question mark, however, as some of the ver first models to hit the market from HP have inefficient displays and hard drives instead of SSDs. As more premium configs hit the market in the next few weeks, hopefully we'll get a better picture of Ryzen Mobile battery life in more optimized laptop builds.

Submission + - Bitcoin mining consumes more energy than 159 countries (itwire.com)

troublemaker_23 writes: Bitcoin mining around the world consumes 29.05TWh (terawatt hours) of electricity annually as of 20 November, according to a website that claims to provide in-depth analysis, opinions and discussions with regard to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Submission + - Asteroid That Killed Dinosaurs Caused a Worse Global Disaster Than Ever Imagined (sciencealert.com)

schwit1 writes: According to a study published Monday in Geophysical Research Letters, new computer simulations using the recently revised angle suggest the Chicxulub event released more than three times more climate-cooling sulphur gas than previously thought.

"We wanted to revisit this significant event and refine our collision model to better capture its immediate effects on the atmosphere," Joanna Morgan, a geophysicist at Imperial College London, said in an American Geophysical Union press release.

The model Morgan and her colleagues created suggests that the sulphur gas from vaporised rock and seawater could have dropped global surface temperatures by an average of nearly 47 degrees Fahrenheit (26.7 degrees Celsius) almost overnight. Such temperatures may have lasted for several years, until most of the aerosolised sulphur fell out of the sky.

But sea life may have suffered much longer. It may have taken "hundreds of years after the Chicxulub impact" for oceans to rewarm, according to the study.

Submission + - Lightning can trigger nuclear reactions, creating rare atomic isotopes (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: Rare forms of atoms, like carbon-13, carbon-14, and nitrogen-15, have long been used to figure out the ages of ancient artifacts and probe the nuances of prehistoric food chains. The source of these rare isotopes? Complicated cascades of subatomic reactions in the atmosphere triggered by high-energy cosmic rays from outer space. Now, a team of scientists is adding one more isotope initiator to its list: lightning. Strong bolts of lightning can unleash the same flurry of nuclear reactions as cosmic rays, the researchers report today in Nature. But, they add, the isotopes created by these storms likely constitute a small portion of all such atoms—so the new findings are unlikely to change the way other scientists use them for dating and geotracing.

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