By BeauHD from Slashdot's do-able-science department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phys.Org: Scientists have found a rapid way of producing magnesite, a mineral which stores carbon dioxide. If this can be developed to an industrial scale, it opens the door to removing CO2 from the atmosphere for long-term storage, thus countering the global warming effect of atmospheric CO2. This work is presented at the Goldschmidt conference in Boston. Now, for the first time, researchers have explained how magnesite forms at low temperature, and offered a route to dramatically accelerating its crystallization. A tonne of naturally-occurring magnesite can remove around half a tonne of CO2 from the atmosphere, but the rate of formation is very slow. The researchers were able to show that by using polystyrene microspheres as a catalyst, magnesite would form within 72 days. The microspheres themselves are unchanged by the production process, so they can ideally be reused. Project leader, Professor Ian Power from Trent University in Ontario added: "Using microspheres means that we were able to speed up magnesite formation by orders of magnitude. This process takes place at room temperature, meaning that magnesite production is extremely energy efficient. For now, we recognize that this is an experimental process, and will need to be scaled up before we can be sure that magnesite can be used in carbon sequestration (taking CO2 from the atmosphere and permanently storing it as magnesite). This depends on several variables, including the price of carbon and the refinement of the sequestration technology, but we now know that the science makes it do-able."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's next-generation-spaceflight department
On Monday, SpaceX let reporters take a look inside its Crew Dragon capsule for the first time, as well as hear from the four astronauts: Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley, Victor Glover and Mike Hopkins. Ars Technica writes about several pieces of hardware observed at the event in Hawthorne, California: During the event at SpaceX, engineers guided reporters through various displays. Outside, under a resplendent blue sky with the rolling hills of Palos Verdes in the distance, media was invited to crawl into a low-fidelity mockup of the crew Dragon spacecraft. This was a roomy vehicle, especially in comparison to NASA's current ride to the space station, a cramped Soyuz with a capacity of three. The Dragon will comfortably carry a normal complement of four for NASA, but seven seats can fit inside. On the second floor of its main factory, where astronauts have trained in recent years, SpaceX also showed off two simulators publicly for the first time. This marked the first time SpaceX has revealed details about the controls and the interior of its crewed spacecraft. The cockpit simulator demonstrated the controls that Dragon astronauts will have at their command. In comparison to the space shuttle and its more than 1,000 buttons, switches, and controls, the Dragon capsule has a modest array of three flat screens and two rows of buttons below.
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By BeauHD from Slashdot's surprisingly-slow department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Live Science: Scientists found that death travels in unremitting waves through a cell, moving at a rate of 30 micrometers (one-thousandth of an inch) every minute, they report in a new study published Aug. 10 in the journal Science. That means, for instance, that a nerve cell, whose body can reach a size of 100 micrometers, could take as long as 3 minutes and 20 seconds to die. Apoptosis -- or programmed cell death -- is necessary for clearing our bodies of unnecessary or harmful cells, such as those that are infected by viruses. It also helps shape organs and other features in a developing fetus.
To figure this out, Ferrell and his team observed the process in one of the larger cells present in nature: egg cells of Xenopus laevis, or African clawed frogs. They filled test tubes with fluid from the eggs and triggered apoptosis, which they watched unfold by tagging involved proteins with fluorescent light. If they saw fluorescent light, it meant apoptosis was taking place. They found that the fluorescent light traveled through the test tubes at a constant speed. If apoptosis had carried on due to simple diffusion (the spreading of substances from an area of high concentration to one of low concentration), the process would have slowed down toward the end, according to the study. Since it didn't, the researchers concluded that the process they observed must be "trigger waves," which they likened to "the spread of a fire through a field." The caspases that are first activated, activate other molecules of caspases, which activate yet others, until the entire cell is destroyed.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's early-adopters department
In a statement Tuesday, Verizon announced deals making Apple and Google its first video providers for a 5G wireless service its planning to launch in four cities later this year. From the report: The home broadband service will debut in Los Angeles, Houston and Sacramento, California, as well as the newly announced fourth city of Indianapolis, Verizon said Tuesday in a statement. With the introduction, Verizon will provide 5G customers either a free Apple TV box or free subscription to Google's YouTube TV app for live television service, according to people familiar with the plan. After shelving its own online TV effort, New York-based Verizon decided to partner with the two technology giants for video content, a first step toward eventually competing nationally against internet and pay TV providers such as AT&T and Comcast Using fifth-generation wireless technology, Verizon plans to beam online services to home receivers, delivering speeds that match or exceed landline connections.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's there's-a-first-for-everything department
Los Angeles officials announced Tuesday that the city's subway will become the first mass transit system in the U.S. to install body scanners that screen passengers for weapons and explosives. "The deployment of the portable scanners, which project waves to do full-body screenings of passengers walking through a station without slowing them down, will happen in the coming months, said Alex Wiggins, who runs the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's law enforcement division," reports the Associated Press reports: The machines scan for metallic and non-metallic objects on a person's body, can detect suspicious items from 30 feet (9 meters) away and have the capability of scanning more than 2,000 passengers per hour. On Tuesday, Pekoske and other officials demonstrated the new machines, which are being purchased from Thruvision, which is headquartered in the United Kingdom. In addition to the Thruvision scanners, the agency is also planning to purchase other body scanners -- which resemble white television cameras on tripods -- that have the ability to move around and hone in on specific people and angles, Wiggins said. Signs will be posted at stations warning passengers they are subject to body scanner screening. The screening process is voluntary, Wiggins said, but customers who choose not be screened won't be able to ride on the subway.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's surprise-surprise department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: A new survey by Consumer Reports once again highlights how consumers are responding positively to [community-run broadband networks]. The organization surveyed 176,000 Consumer Reports readers on their experience with their pay TV and broadband providers, and found that the lion's share of Americans remain completely disgusted with most large, incumbent operators. The full ratings are paywalled but available here to those with a Consumer Reports subscription. All the usual suspects including Comcast, Charter (Spectrum), AT&T, Verizon, and Optimum once again fell toward the bottom of the barrel in terms of overall satisfaction, reliability, and value, largely mirroring similar studies from the American Customer Satisfaction Index.
One of the lone bright spots for broadband providers was Chattanooga's EPB, a city-owned and utility operated broadband provider we profiled several years back as an example of community broadband done well. The outfit, which Comcast attempted unsuccessfully to sue into oblivion, was the only ISP included in the study that received positive ratings for value. "EPB was the top internet service provider in our telecom ratings two times in the past three years," Christopher Raymond, electronics editor at Consumer Reports told Motherboard. "Consumer Reports members have given it high marks for not only reliability and speed, but also overall value -- and that's a rare distinction in an arena dominated by the major cable companies," he said.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's picking-on-the-poor department
According to a report from the Sacramento Bee, officials in Sacramento County have been accessing license plate reader data to track welfare recipients suspected of fraud. The practice dates back to 2016. Gizmodo reports: Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance Director Ann Edwards confirmed to the paper that welfare fraud investigators working under the DHA have used the data for two years on a "case-by-case" basis. Edwards said the DHA pays about $5,000 annually for access to the database. Abbreviated LPR, license plate readers are essentially cameras that upload photographs to a searchable database of images of license plates. If a driver passed by an LPR four times throughout a city, an officer with access would know where and at what time of day. Anyone with access to that data could use it track where someone drove and when, provided they were scanned by the LPR.
By BeauHD from Slashdot's show-and-tell department
theodp writes: "Long before phone addiction panic gripped the masses and before screen time became a facet of our wellness and digital detoxes," begins Katie Reid's article, How the Shared Family Computer Protected Us from Our Worst Selves, "there was one good and wise piece of technology that served our families. Maybe it was in the family room or in the kitchen. It could have been a Mac or PC. Chances are it had a totally mesmerizing screensaver. It was the shared family desktop." She continues: "I can still see the Dell I grew up using as clear as day, like I just connected to NetZero yesterday. It sat in my eldest sister's room, which was just off the kitchen. Depending on when you peeked into the room, you might have found my dad playing Solitaire, my sister downloading songs from Napster, or me playing Wheel of Fortune or writing my name in Microsoft Paint. The rules for using the family desktop were pretty simple: homework trumped games; Dad trumped all. Like the other shared equipment in our house, its usefulness was focused and direct: it was a tool that the whole family used, and it was our portal to the wild, weird, wonderful internet. As such, we adored it." Did you have a shared family computer growing up? Can you relate to any of the experiences Katie mentioned in her article? Please share your thoughts in a comment below.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's he-said-she-said department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: A group of Tinder founders and executives has filed a lawsuit against parent company Match Group and its controlling shareholder IAC. The plaintiffs in the suit include Tinder co-founders Sean Rad, Justin Mateen and Jonathan Badeen -- Badeen still works at Tinder, as do plaintiffs James Kim (the company's vice president of finance) and Rosette Pambakian (its vice president of marketing and communications). The suit alleges that IAC and Match Group manipulated financial data in order to create "a fake lowball valuation" (to quote the plaintiffs' press release), then stripped Rad, Mateen, Badeen and others of their stock options. It points to the removal of Rad as CEO, as well as other management changes, as moves designed "to allow Defendants to control the valuation of Tinder and deprive Tinder optionholders of their right to participate in the company's future success." The lawsuit also alleges that Greg Blatt, the Match CEO who became CEO of Tinder, groped and sexually harassed Pambakian at the company's 2016 holiday party, supposedly leading the company to "whitewash" his actions long enough for him to complete the valuation of Tinder and its merger with Match Group, and then to announce his departure. In response, the plaintiffs are asking for "compensatory damages in an amount to be determined at trial, but not less than $2,000,000,000." IAC and Match Group issued a statement denying the allegations: "...Match Group and the plaintiffs went through a rigorous, contractually-defined valuation process involving two independent global investment banks, and Mr. Rad and his merry band of plaintiffs did not like the outcome. Mr. Rad (who was dismissed from the Company a year ago) and Mr. Mateen (who has not been with the Company in years) may not like the fact that Tinder has experienced enormous success following their respective departures, but sour grapes alone do not a lawsuit make. Mr. Rad has a rich history of outlandish public statements, and this lawsuit contains just another series of them. We look forward to defending our position in court."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
If you happen to have a box of spaghetti in your pantry, try this experiment: Pull out a single spaghetti stick and hold it at both ends. Now bend it until it breaks. How many fragments did you make? If the answer is three or more, pull out another stick and try again. Can you break the noodle in two? If not, you're in very good company. From a report: The spaghetti challenge has flummoxed even the likes of famed physicist Richard Feynman '39, who once spent a good portion of an evening breaking pasta and looking for a theoretical explanation for why the sticks refused to snap in two. Feynman's kitchen experiment remained unresolved until 2005, when physicists from France pieced together a theory to describe the forces at work when spaghetti -- and any long, thin rod -- is bent. They found that when a stick is bent evenly from both ends, it will break near the center, where it is most curved. This initial break triggers a "snap-back" effect and a bending wave, or vibration, that further fractures the stick. Their theory, which won the 2006 Ig Nobel Prize, seemed to solve Feynman's puzzle. But a question remained: Could spaghetti ever be coerced to break in two? The answer, according to a new MIT study, is yes -- with a twist. In a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers report that they have found a way to break spaghetti in two, by both bending and twisting the dry noodles. They carried out experiments with hundreds of spaghetti sticks, bending and twisting them with an apparatus they built specifically for the task. The team found that if a stick is twisted past a certain critical degree, then slowly bent in half, it will, against all odds, break in two. The researchers say the results may have applications beyond culinary curiosities, such as enhancing the understanding of crack formation and how to control fractures in other rod-like materials such as multifiber structures, engineered nanotubes, or even microtubules in cells.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
From border crossings to hacking conferences, that Bitcoin or political sticker may be worth leaving on a case at home. From a report: Plenty of hackers, journalists, and technologists love to cover their laptop in all manner of stickers. Maybe one shows off their employer, another flaunts that local cryptoparty they attended, or others may display the laptop owner's interest in Bitcoin. That's all well and good, but a laptop lid full of stickers also arguably provides something of a red flag to authorities or hackers who may want to access sensitive information stored on that computer, or otherwise cause the owner hassle. "Conferences, border crossing[s], airports, public places -- stickers will/can get you targeted for opposition research, industrial espionage, legal or investigative scrutiny," Matt Mitchell, director of digital safety and privacy for technology and activism group Tactical Tech, told Motherboard in an online chat. Mitchell said political stickers, for instance, can land you in secondary search or result in being detained while crossing a border. In one case, Mitchell said a hacker friend ended up missing a flight over stickers.Read Replies (0)