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Google Steers Users To YouTube Over Rivals (wsj.com)

(Tuesday July 14, 2020 @07:30PM (BeauHD) from the secret-advantage dept.)

A Wall Street Journal investigation found that Google [1]gives its online video service YouTube the advantage when choosing the best video clips to promote from around the web. From the report:

> Take a clip of basketball star Zion Williamson that the National Basketball Association posted online in January, when he made his highly anticipated pro debut. The clip was popular on Facebook Inc., drawing more than one million views and nearly 900 comments as of March. A nearly identical YouTube version of the clip with the same title was seen about 182,000 times and garnered fewer than 400 comments. But when The Wall Street Journal's automated bots searched Google for the clip's title, the YouTube version featured much more prominently than the Facebook version.

>

> The Journal conducted Google searches for a selection of other videos and channels that are available on YouTube as well as on competitors' platforms. The YouTube versions were significantly more prominent in the results in the vast majority of cases. This isn't by accident. Engineers at Google have made changes that effectively preference YouTube over other video sources, according to people familiar with the matter. Google executives in recent years made decisions to prioritize YouTube on the first page of search results, in part to drive traffic to YouTube rather than to competitors, and also to give YouTube more leverage in business deals with content providers seeking traffic for their videos, one of those people said.

A Google spokeswoman, Lara Levin, said there is no preference given to YouTube or any other video provider in Google search. "Our systems use a number of signals from the web to understand what results people find most relevant and helpful for a given query," Ms. Levin said. She declined to comment on the specific examples cited in the article.



[1] https://www.wsj.com/articles/google-steers-users-to-youtube-over-rivals-11594745232?mod=djemalertNEWS

Is It Time To Kill the Penny? (npr.org)

(Tuesday July 14, 2020 @07:30PM (BeauHD) from the good-of-time-as-any dept.)

COVID-19 has constipated the economy and prompted the U.S. Mint to cut back on coin production to keep its workers safe. As NPR's Greg Rosalsky writes, this could be a rallying cry for a long-running movement that has lost steam in recent years: Kill the penny! "With the closure of the economy, the flow of coins through the economy has ... kind of stopped," explained Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell last month. [1]Is now the time to kill the penny? From the report:

> Last year, [2]almost 60% (PDF) of the coins that the U.S. Mint churned out were pennies. 60 percent. It made [3]more than 7 billion (PDF) pennies. Seven billion. That's a lot of manpower that could be used toward making coins we actually need. The penny is basically worthless. Actually, it's worse than worthless. It costs the U.S. government [4]about 2 cents (PDF) to produce every penny. Pennies aren't even worth our time. Wake Forest University economist Robert Whaples has calculated that the typical American worker earns a penny every two seconds. It takes most of us more than two seconds to fumble around with change or pick a penny off the ground, which explains why there are so many pennies on the ground. Money is supposed to be the medium of exchange, not dead weight.

>

> For most of U.S. history, we never had a coin as worthless as the penny is now. Back in 1857, we killed the half-cent coin -- which, when adjusted for inflation, was as valuable then as about 14 cents is today. And we did just fine. [...] The U.S. Mint lost [5]over $72 million (PDF) making pennies last year. But there doesn't seem to be much urgency about this because in the grand scheme of the federal budget, it's just pennies. We reached out to the U.S. Mint to discuss the coin shortage, and its representative Michael White told us that after retooling to keep its employees safe during the early part of the pandemic, the U.S. Mint has been operating at full capacity since mid-June. But depressed retail activity and reduced deposits by coin processors -- like, you know, those machines at the supermarket that exchange your coins for bills -- have hampered coin circulation. Since the U.S. Mint went into overdrive to end the coin shortage, White says, about 40% of the coins that it has produced have been pennies.



[1] https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2020/07/14/890435359/is-it-time-to-kill-the-penny

[2] https://www.usmint.gov/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2019-Annual-Report.pdf

[3] https://www.usmint.gov/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2019-Annual-Report.pdf

[4] https://www.usmint.gov/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2019-Annual-Report.pdf

[5] https://www.usmint.gov/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2019-Annual-Report.pdf

German Court Bans Tesla Ad Statements Related To Autonomous Driving (reuters.com)

(Tuesday July 14, 2020 @07:30PM (BeauHD) from the cease-and-desist dept.)

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters:

> Germany has [1]banned Tesla from repeating what a court says are misleading advertising statements relating to the capabilities of the firm's driver assistance systems and to autonomous driving, a Munich judge ruled on Tuesday. Tesla can appeal the ruling. The case was brought by Germany's Wettbewerbszentrale, an industry sponsored body tasked with policing anti-competitive practices. The Munich court agreed with the industry body's assessment and banned Tesla Germany from including "full potential for autonomous driving" and "Autopilot inclusive" in its German advertising materials. It said such claims amounted to misleading business practices, adding that the average buyer might be given the impression that the car could drive without human intervention and might suggest such a system was now legal on German roads.



[1] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tesla-autopilot-germany/german-court-bans-tesla-ad-statements-related-to-autonomous-driving-idUSKCN24F1T5

Trump Administration Rescinds Rule on Foreign Students (apnews.com)

(Tuesday July 14, 2020 @07:30PM (msmash) from the breaking-news dept.)

Facing eight federal lawsuits and [1]opposition from hundreds of universities , the Trump administration on Tuesday [2]rescinded a rule that would have [3]required international students to transfer or leave the country if their schools held classes entirely online because of the pandemic. From a report:

> The decision was announced at the start of a hearing in a federal lawsuit in Boston brought by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs said federal immigration authorities agreed to pull the July 6 directive and "return to the status quo." A lawyer representing the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said only that the judge's characterization was correct.

>

> The announcement brings relief to thousands of foreign students who had been at risk of being deported from the country, along with hundreds of universities that were scrambling to reassess their plans for the fall in light of the policy. Under the policy, international students in the U.S. would have been forbidden from taking all their courses online this fall. New visas would not have been issued to students at schools planning to provide all classes online, which includes Harvard. Students already in the U.S. would have faced deportation if they didn't transfer schools or leave the country voluntarily.



[1] https://news.slashdot.org/story/20/07/08/1647226/mit-and-harvard-sue-dhs-and-ice-over-international-student-rule

[2] https://apnews.com/38b6562b7aaa73ea66fb72b06472e05d

[3] https://news.slashdot.org/story/20/07/06/2333254/foreign-students-must-leave-the-us-if-their-universities-transition-to-online-only-learning

IBM Job Ad Calls For a Minimum 12 Years' Experience With Kubernetes -- Which is Six Years Old (theregister.com)

(Tuesday July 14, 2020 @07:30PM (msmash) from the help-this-friendly-company-out dept.)

IBM's Global Technology Services has posted a job ad calling for candidates with a "minimum 12+ years' experience in Kubernetes administration and management." From a report:

> Which is a little odd because the first GitHub commit for the project was [1]made on June 7, 2014 . And the feature freeze for version 1.0 was announced on May 22, 2015. Sharp-minded Reg readers will have recognised that -- absent time travel -- it is therefore not possible for anyone to have 12 years' experience with Kubernetes. The ad is sadly silent on just how IBM expects candidates will have found the time to accumulate a dozen years' experience in a six-year-old project.



[1] https://www.theregister.com/2020/07/13/ibm_kubernetes_experience_job_ad/

Microsoft Warns of a 17-Year-Old 'Wormable' Bug (wired.com)

(Tuesday July 14, 2020 @07:30PM (msmash) from the watch-out dept.)

Since WannaCry and NotPetya struck the internet just over three years ago, the security industry has scrutinized every new Windows bug that could be used to create a similar world-shaking worm. Now one potentially "wormable" vulnerability -- meaning an attack can spread from one machine to another with no human interaction -- has [1]appeared in Microsoft's implementation of the domain name system protocol , one of the fundamental building blocks of the internet. From a report:

> As part of its Patch Tuesday batch of software updates, Microsoft today released a fix for a bug discovered by Israeli security firm Check Point, which the company's researchers have named SigRed. The SigRed bug exploits Windows DNS, one of the most popular kinds of DNS software that translates domain names into IP addresses. Windows DNS runs on the DNS servers of practically every small and medium-sized organization around the world. The bug, Check Point says, has existed in that software for a remarkable 17 years. Check Point and Microsoft warn that the flaw is critical, a 10 out of 10 on the common vulnerability scoring system, an industry standard severity rating. Not only is the bug wormable, Windows DNS software often runs on the powerful servers known as domain controllers that set the rules for networks. Many of those machines are particularly sensitive; a foothold in one would allow further penetration into other devices inside an organization.

>

> On top of all of that, says Check Point's head of vulnerability research Omri Herscovici, the Windows DNS bug can in some cases be exploited with no action on the part of the target user, creating a seamless and powerful attack. "It requires no interaction. And not only that, once you're inside the domain controller that runs the Windows DNS server, expanding your control to the rest of the network is really easy," says Omri Herscovici. "It's basically game over." Check Point found the SigRed vulnerability in the part of Windows DNS that handles a certain piece of data that's part of the key exchange used in the more secure version of DNS known as DNSSEC. That one piece of data can be maliciously crafted such that Windows DNS allows a hacker to overwrite chunks of memory they're not meant to have access to, ultimately gaining full remote code execution on the target server. (Check Point says Microsoft asked the company not to publicize too many details of other elements of the technique, including how it bypasses certain security features on Windows servers.)



[1] https://www.wired.com/story/sigred-windows-dns-flas-wormable/

Biden Announces $2 Trillion Climate Plan (nytimes.com)

(Tuesday July 14, 2020 @07:30PM (msmash) from the future-ambitions dept.)

Joseph R. Biden Jr. announced on Tuesday a new plan to [1]spend $2 trillion over four years to significantly escalate the use of clean energy in the transportation, electricity and building sectors , part of a suite of sweeping proposals designed to create economic opportunities and build infrastructure while also tackling climate change. [2]DogDude shares a report:

> In a speech in Wilmington, Del., Mr. Biden built on his plans, released last week, for reviving the economy in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, with a new focus on enhancing the nation's infrastructure and emphasizing the importance of putting the United States on a path to significantly cut fossil fuel emissions. "These are the most critical investments we can make for the long-term health and vitality of both the American economy and the physical health and safety of the American people," he said, repeatedly criticizing President Trump's leadership on issues including climate and the pandemic. "When Donald Trump thinks about climate change, the only word he can muster is 'hoax.' When I think about climate change, the word I think of is 'jobs.'"

>

> The proposal is the second plank in Mr. Biden's economic recovery plan. His team sees an opportunity to take direct aim at Mr. Trump, who has struggled to deliver on his pledges to finance major improvements to American infrastructure. Republicans are sure to criticize the proposal as an attack on jobs in the energy sector -- but the plan will also test whether Mr. Biden has found a way to win over environmental activists and other progressives who have long been skeptical about the scope of his ambitions on climate. His plan outlines specific and aggressive targets, including achieving an emissions-free power sector by 2035 and upgrading four million buildings over four years to meet the highest standards for energy efficiency. The plan also calls for establishing an office of environmental and climate justice at the Department of Justice and developing a broad set of tools to address how "environmental policy decisions of the past have failed communities of color."



[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/us/politics/biden-climate-plan.html

[2] https://slashdot.org/~DogDude

China Will Sanction Lockheed Martin Over Arms Sales To Taiwan (cnn.com)

(Tuesday July 14, 2020 @07:30PM (msmash) from the tussle-continues dept.)

China said on Tuesday it would [1]place sanctions on Lockheed Martin for its involvement in arms sales to Taiwan , a move that could further escalate tensions between Beijing and Washington. [2]hackingbear writes:

> "China firmly opposes US arms sales to Taiwan," Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a press conference. Taiwan is a self-ruled island, but China has long vowed to unify it with the mainland. The United States is one of Taiwan's main arms suppliers. The US State Department last week approved a request by Taiwan to upgrade its Patriot Surface-to-Air missiles at an estimated cost of $620 million, according to Taiwan's state-run Central News Agency. In response, China is imposing "sanctions on the main contractor of this arms sale, Lockheed Martin," Zhao said, without going into detail. The United States should "stop selling arms to Taiwan and cut its military ties to Taiwan, so it won't do further harm to bilateral relations between China and the United States," he added.



[1] https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/14/business/china-sanctions-lockheed-martin-hnk-intl/index.html

[2] https://slashdot.org/~hackingbear

Lenovo and AMD Launch Threadripper Pro CPU To Take on Intel Xeon (cnet.com)

(Tuesday July 14, 2020 @07:30PM (msmash) from the competition-intensifies dept.)

AMD finally brings a workstation-class -- in other words, security-conscious -- [1]processor to challenge the Intel Xeon on the desktop with its Ryzen Threadripper Pro . With up to 64 cores, the pro version of AMD's multicore powerhouse Threadripper processors incorporates essentials like support for massive amounts of memory and board-level security, critical for uses which move a ton of sensitive data, ranging from aerospace visualization to Hollywood video editing and CGI rendering. The CPU debuts in Lenovo's ThinkStation P620; Lenovo has a limited exclusive on the processor. From a report:

> The CPU comes in four variants: 3945WX (12 cores, with the fastest single-core speeds), 3955WX (16 cores), 3975WX (32 cores) and 3995WX (64 cores). At the moment, to achieve core counts that high with the Intel Xeon, you have to use multiple CPUs. They all come with some of the perks of AMD's architecture, including support for PCI Gen4 -- in this case, up to 128 lanes. And the Pro versions add support for more types of memory, notably RDIMM and LRDIMM, over the high-end consumer-focused Threadripper, plus 8 memory channels vs. 4, which lets it support up to 2TB of memory. On the downside, while AMD supports faster internal transfers than Intel via PCI 4, it doesn't offer any high-speed external data transfer capabilities a la Thunderbolt 3. And in fact, the ThinkStation P620's fastest connections are USB 3.2 Gen 2 and 10Gb Ethernet.



[1] https://www.cnet.com/news/lenovo-and-amd-launch-threadripper-pro-cpu-to-take-on-intel-xeon/

Hundreds of Hyperpartisan Sites Are Masquerading as Local News (niemanlab.org)

(Tuesday July 14, 2020 @07:30PM (msmash) from the closer-look dept.)

The growth of partisan media masquerading as state and local reporting is a troubling trend we've seen emerge amid the financial declines of local news organizations. But [1]what do these outlets mean for journalism in American communities? NiemanLab:

> Using previous research and news reports as a guide, we've mapped the locations of more than 400 partisan media outlets -- often funded and operated by government officials, political candidates, PACs, and political party operatives -- and found, somewhat unsurprisingly, that these outlets are emerging most often in swing states, raising a concern about the ability of such organizations to fill community information needs while prioritizing the electoral value of an audience. We found that while left-leaning sites prioritize statewide reporting, right-leaning sites are more focused on local reporting, suggesting different strategies for engaging with targeted audiences and indicating the potential for these sites to exacerbate polarization in local communities.



[1] https://www.niemanlab.org/2020/07/hundreds-of-hyperpartisan-sites-are-masquerading-as-local-news-this-map-shows-if-theres-one-near-you/

Israeli Court Rules NSO Group Can Continue Exporting Spyware (vice.com)

(Tuesday July 14, 2020 @07:30PM (msmash) from the how-about-that dept.)

The infamous spyware company NSO Group [1]scored a major win in what critics are calling a "disgraceful ruling" in an Israeli court this week. From a report:

> The court ruled that NSO can keep exporting its hacking and surveillance tools, arguing that the human rights organization Amnesty International, which had sued the company in an attempt to block its exports, failed to prove that an NSO customer used its technology to spy on Amnesty staff. In 2018, as Motherboard reported at the time, Amnesty claimed to have found hackers spying on one of the organization's researchers using NSO spyware. After the incident, the organization sued NSO in Israel in an attempt to block the export of its surveillance technology. A Tel Aviv District Court judge dismissed the suit alleging Amnesty did not present enough evidence, and said Israel's Defence Ministry, which is tasked with overseeing the export of surveillance technologies, has the right safeguards in place to protect human rights.



[1] https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/jgxdgg/israeli-court-rules-nso-group-can-continue-exporting-spyware

Microsoft Adds Support For Custom '+' Email Addresses in Office 365 (zdnet.com)

(Tuesday July 14, 2020 @07:30PM (msmash) from the moving-forward dept.)

Microsoft is adding support for [1]custom email addressing to Office 365 email services , a feature it hopes to complete in Q3 2020. From a report:

> Custom email addresses are an optional feature that some email providers can support. The feature is described in the RFC 5233 internet standard. Officially known as subaddressing, this standard allows users to extend their email address using "tags" or the plus (+) character, hence its two alternative names of tagged addressing or plus addressing. For example, a user with the email address of username@domain.com can use the plus addressing feature to extend their email address to username+tag@domain.com. If the user's email address supports subaddressing, all emails sent to the username+tag@domain.com email will land in the user's username@domain.com inbox.



[1] https://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-adds-support-for-custom-email-addresses-in-office-365/

Amazon Introduces Dash Cart, Essentially an Amazon Go Store on Wheels (cnet.com)

(Tuesday July 14, 2020 @07:30PM (msmash) from the how-about-that dept.)

Amazon just reinvented the lowly shopping cart. The company on Tuesday unveiled the Amazon Dash Cart, which is infused with weight sensors and cameras that [1]allow it to scan your items as you're placing them in the cart so you can skip the checkout line. From a report:

> The concept is kind of like a compact version of Amazon Go, a whole store that does away with the checkout experience by using hundreds of cameras on the ceiling to let customers pick up whatever items they want and walk out. "Our primary motivation for building this was to be able to save customers time," said Dilip Kumar, vice president of Amazon's physical retail and technology. "The alternative solutions are standing in the express checkout lanes or fumbling through self-checkout stations." Dash Carts will debut at Amazon's Woodland Hills, California, grocery store, when the location opens later this year. The company last November unveiled plans for the Woodland Hills store as the first location for a new supermarket chain that will be separate from its Whole Foods chain. The store will include conventional checkout lanes, too.



[1] https://www.cnet.com/news/amazon-introduces-dash-cart-essentially-an-amazon-go-store-on-wheels/

UK Bans Huawei From 5G Network, Raising Tensions With China (nytimes.com)

(Tuesday July 14, 2020 @07:30PM (msmash) from the how-about-that dept.)

Britain announced on Tuesday that it would ban equipment from the Chinese technology giant Huawei [1]from the country's high-speed wireless network , a victory for the Trump administration and a reversal of an earlier decision that underscores how technology has taken center stage in the deepening divide between Western powers and China. From a report:

> In January Britain said that Huawei equipment could be used in its new 5G network on a limited basis. But since then Prime Minister Boris Johnson has faced growing political pressure domestically to take a harder line against Beijing, and in May the United States imposed new restrictions to disrupt Huawei's access to important components. Britain's about-face signals a new willingness among Western countries to confront China, a determination that has grown firmer since Beijing last month adopted a sweeping new law to tighten its grip on Hong Kong, the semiautonomous city that was a British colony until 1997. On Tuesday, Robert O'Brien, President Trump's national security adviser, was in Paris for meetings about China with counterparts from Britain, France, Germany and Italy. Huawei's critics say its close ties to the Chinese government mean Beijing could use the equipment for espionage or to disrupt telecommunications -- a point the company strongly disputes.

>

> Arguing that Huawei created too much risk for such a critical, multibillion-dollar project, the government said Tuesday that it would bar the purchase of new Huawei equipment for 5G networks after December, and that existing gear already installed would need to be removed from the networks by 2027. "As facts have changed, so has our approach," Oliver Dowden, the government minister in charge of telecommunications, told the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon. "This has not been an easy decision, but it is the right one for the U.K.'s telecoms networks, for our national security and our economy, both now and indeed in the long run." The dispute over Huawei, the world's largest maker of telecommunications equipment, represents an early front in a new tech Cold War, with ramifications for internet freedom and surveillance, as well as emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics.



[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/business/huawei-uk-5g.html

Google Is in Advanced Talks To Invest $4 Billion in Jio Platforms (bloomberg.com)

(Tuesday July 14, 2020 @07:30PM (msmash) from the shape-of-things-to-come dept.)

Google is in advanced talks to buy [1]a $4 billion stake in Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani's technology venture , Bloomberg News reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter, seeking to join rival Facebook in chasing growth in a promising internet and e-commerce market. From the report:

> The Mountain View, California-based company has been discussing the investment in Jio Platforms, the digital arm of Ambani's Reliance Industries, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. An announcement could come as soon as the next few weeks, according to the people. Jio is at the center of the Indian tycoon's ambition to transform his energy conglomerate into a homegrown technology behemoth akin to China's Alibaba Group Holding. The venture has turned into a magnet for Silicon Valley investors, attracting almost $16 billion from Facebook to KKR in the past three months. Should the talks with Google result in a deal, that would further burnish Jio's credentials in its push to upend online retail, content streaming, digital payments, education and health care in a market of more than a billion people.

Google said on Monday that it [2]plans to invest $10 billion in India over the next five to seven years.



[1] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-14/google-is-said-in-talks-to-invest-4-billion-in-jio-platforms

[2] https://tech.slashdot.org/story/20/07/13/1352256/google-to-invest-10b-in-india

Grant Imahara, Host of 'MythBusters' and 'White Rabbit Project,' Dies At 49 (hollywoodreporter.com)

(Tuesday July 14, 2020 @01:33PM (BeauHD) from the rest-in-peace dept.)

[1]Grant Imahara , an electrical engineer and roboticist who hosted the popular science show MythBusters and Netflix's White Rabbit Project, [2]has died suddenly following a brain aneurysm . He was 49. From The Hollywood Reporter:

> An electrical engineer and roboticist by training, he joined Discovery's MythBusters in its third season, replacing Scottie Chapman and was with the show until 2014 when he left with with co-hosts Kari Byron and Tory Belleci. The trio would reunite in 2016 for Netflix's White Rabbit Project which lasted for one season. On MythBusters, Imahara used his technical expertise to design and build robots for the show and also operated the computers and electronics needed to test myths.

>

> Born in Los Angeles, Imahara studied electrical engineering at the University of Southern California (though he briefly had doubts and wanted to become a screenwriter) before combining the two passions and landing a post-graduation gig at Lucasfilm-associated THX labs. In his nine years at Lucasfilm, he worked for the company's THX and Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) divisions. In his years at ILM he became chief model maker specializing in animatronics and worked on George Lucas' Star Wars prequels, as well as The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Galaxy Quest, XXX: State of the Union, Van Helsing, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, A.I. Artificial Intelligence and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. [...] Imahara also starred in several episodes of the fan-made web series Star Trek Continues. He played Hikaru Sulu, a lieutenant, helmsman and third officer on the USS Enterprise, in the show that was an unofficial continuation of Star Trek: The Original Series.

"We are heartbroken to hear this sad news about Grant. He was an important part of our Discovery family and a really wonderful man. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family," a representative for Discovery said in a statement on Monday.



[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grant_Imahara

[2] https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/grant-imahara-dead-mythbusters-host-was-49-1303101

Porsche Found a Way To 3D-Print Lightweight Pistons That Add More Horsepower (thedrive.com)

(Tuesday July 14, 2020 @01:33PM (BeauHD) from the engineering-flex dept.)

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Drive:

> With select bucket seats from the 911 and 718 as well as various classic car parts -- including clutch release levers for the 959 -- already being produced using 3D printing, Porsche is more familiar with the technology than most. Now, the automaker is taking things even further, 3D printing entire pistons for its most powerful 991-gen 911, the GT2 RS. Although it doesn't sound like these 3D-printed pistons will actually be found in many production Porsches anytime soon, they represent a bit more than just an engineering flex. There are some very real mechanical benefits here. For starters, they weigh 10 percent less than their forged equivalents and feature an integrated and closed cooling duct in the piston crown that's apparently unable to be reproduced using traditional manufacturing methods. The decrease in weight and temperature [1]results in an extra 30 horsepower on top of the GT2 RS's already mighty 700 .

>

> Produced in partnership with German auto part maker Mahle and industrial machine manufacturer Trumpf, the pistons are made out of a high-purity metal powder developed in-house by the former using the laser metal fusion process, essentially a laser beam that heats and melts the metal powder into the desired shape. The end result is then validated using measurement technology from Zeiss, the German optics company best known for camera lenses.



[1] https://www.thedrive.com/tech/34775/porsche-found-a-way-to-3d-print-lightweight-pistons-that-add-even-more-horsepower

Desert Quakes May Have Boosted Chances of 'Big One' Striking California (sciencemag.org)

(Tuesday July 14, 2020 @01:33PM (BeauHD) from the ticking-time-bomb dept.)

[1]sciencehabit shares a report from Science Magazine:

> A pair of earthquakes that struck the remote California desert 1 year ago have [2]raised the risk of 'the big one' hitting Southern California , according to a new study. The research finds that the 2019 Ridgecrest, California, quakes shifted underground stresses, making the San Andreas fault -- the state's longest and most dangerous fault -- three times more likely to rupture. U.S. Geological Survey estimates for the annual probability of an earthquake on this part of the San Andreas are about one-third of a percent -- equivalent to expecting a magnitude 7.8 every 300 years, on average. The new modeling triples that hazard to 1% per year -- or a big one every century. And if the Garlock actually does rupture, then the hazard really rises on the San Andreas, by a factor of 150: The probability of a big one rises to 50% in the following year. In principle, a Garlock earthquake could lead to rupture on the San Andreas in a matter of hours or days, much as the two Ridgecrest events came within a day or two. USGS regional scenarios anticipate 1,800 deaths and 50,000 injuries in the event of a major San Andreas earthquake. More than 3 million homes could be damaged, at a reconstruction cost of $289 billion.

The study has been [3]published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America .



[1] https://slashdot.org/~sciencehabit

[2] https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/07/desert-quakes-may-have-boosted-chances-big-one-striking-california

[3] https://pubs.geoscienceworld.org/bssa/early-publication

Enigma Code-Breaking Machine Rebuilt At Cambridge (techxplore.com)

(Tuesday July 14, 2020 @01:33PM (BeauHD) from the what's-old-is-new-again dept.)

Cambridge Engineering alumnus Hal Evans [1]has built a fully-functioning replica of a 1930s Polish cyclometer -- an electromechanical cryptologic device that was designed to assist in the decryption of German Enigma ciphertext. The replica currently resides in King's College, Cambridge. TechXplore reports:

> Work on the hardware-based replica began in 2018, as part of Hal's fourth year Master's project under the supervision of King's College Fellow and Senior Tutor Dr. Tim Flack. The aim was to investigate further into cryptologist Marian Rejewski's cyclometer -- an early forerunner to Cambridge University mathematician Alan Turing's machine, known as the Bombe, which was used to crack the German Enigma code during the Second World War. Hal said he chose to work on the cyclometer as it was the very first machine used to assist the decryption effort. To his knowledge, the replica is the first fully-functioning hardware-based electromechanical cyclometer to exist since the years preceding the Second World War. The original machines would have been destroyed in 1939 to prevent them from falling into the hands of German invaders.

>

> Rejewski's cyclometer exploited the German's procedure at the time of double encipherment of the Enigma message key, and semi-automated the process for calculating what were known as 'characteristics' for every possible Enigma rotor starting position. There were more than 100,000 of these rotor starting positions, and they each needed their characteristic to be calculated and catalogued in a card index system. The cyclometer therefore eliminated the arduous task of calculating these characteristics by hand. The machine consisted of, in effect, two interlinked Enigma systems side-by-side -- one offset by three positions relative to the other -- and 26 lamps and switches to cover the alphabet. On operation, a certain number of bulbs illuminated, indicating the lengths of the characteristics. These were recorded for every single possible rotor starting position to create an immense look-up catalogue. Once this was completed, obtaining the daily Enigma rotor starting settings to decode messages was a simple matter of intercepting enough messages and referencing the catalogue, taking only a matter of minutes.



[1] https://techxplore.com/news/2020-07-enigma-code-breaking-machine-rebuilt-cambridge.html

Scientists Say You Can Cancel the Noise But Keep Your Window Open (nytimes.com)

(Tuesday July 14, 2020 @01:33PM (BeauHD) from the perfect-for-the-city dept.)

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times:

> Researchers in Singapore have developed an apparatus that [1]can be placed in a window to reduce incoming sound by 10 decibels . The system was created by a team of scientists, including Masaharu Nishimura, who came up with the basic concept, and Bhan Lam, a researcher at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Their results were [2]published on Thursday in Scientific Reports . The prototype is not yet the most practical device in real world conditions, but it points the way toward the development of technologies that may help ease the strain of noisy city living.

>

> Borrowing from the same technological principles used in noise-canceling headphones, the team expanded the concept to fit an entire room by placing 24 small speakers in a window. The speakers emit sound waves that correspond to the incoming racket and neutralize it -- or, at least some of it. The system is based on the frequency of the sound waves and, for now, the optimal range is between 300 and 1,000 hertz. [...] The system uses a microphone outside the window to detect the repeating sound waves of the offending noise source, which is registered by a computer controller. That in turn deciphers the proper wave frequency needed to neutralize the sound, which is transmitted to the array of speakers on the inside of the window frame. The speakers then emit the proper "anti" waves, which cancel out the incoming waves, and there you have it: near blissful silence.

Unfortunately, there are some limitations. The system works best from the types of steady noise sources found within the optimal frequency range and isn't great at neutralizing sporadic noises. Also, since human voices don't fit within most of that range, they won't be canceled out.



[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/11/science/windows-street-noise.html

[2] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-66563-z

Sustainable Engineers At Kenoteq Are Reinventing the Brick (cnn.com)

(Tuesday July 14, 2020 @01:33PM (BeauHD) from the new-and-improved dept.)

Engineers from Kenoteq are [1]working to reinvent the humble clay-fired brick , which has remained largely the same for [2]thousands of years and causes significant environmental problems. Not only are the majority of brick kilns required to produce bricks heated by fossil fuels, but the bricks that are made must be transported to construction sites, generating more carbon emissions. CNN reports:

> [Gabriela Medero, a professor of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering at Scotland's Heriot-Watt University] joined forces with fellow engineer Sam Chapman and founded Kenoteq in 2009. The company's signature product is the K-Briq. Made from more than 90% construction waste, Medero says the K-Briq -- which does not need to be fired in a kiln -- produces less than a tenth of the carbon emissions of conventional bricks. With the company testing new machinery to start scaling up production, Medero hopes her bricks will help to build a more sustainable world.

>

> To make it, construction and demolition waste including bricks, gravel, sand and plasterboard is crushed and mixed with water and a binder. The bricks are then pressed in customized molds. Tinted with recycled pigments, they can be made in any color. [...] Kenoteq currently operates one workshop in Edinburgh, which can produce three million K-Briqs a year. Medero is looking at scaling up -- but it's hard to create a revolution in construction. Over the next 18 months, Medero plans to get K-Briq machinery on-site at recycling plants. This will increase production while reducing transport-related emissions, she says, because trucks can collect K-Briqs when they drop off construction waste. "We need to have ways of building sustainably, with affordable, good quality materials that will last."



[1] https://www.cnn.com/style/article/going-green-kbriq-sustainable-brick-spc-intl/index.html

[2] https://brickarchitecture.com/about-brick/why-brick/the-history-of-bricks-brickmaking

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