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Jul 4, 2020

A completely new plasmonic chip for ultrafast data transmission using light

Posted by in categories: internet, robotics/AI

Researchers from ETH Zurich have achieved what scientists have been attempting to do for some 20 years: in their laboratory work as part of European Horizon 2020 research projects, they have manufactured a chip on which fast electronic signals can be converted directly into ultrafast light signals—with practically no loss of signal quality. This represents a significant breakthrough in terms of the efficiency of optical communication infrastructures that use light to transmit data, such as fiber optic networks.

In cities like Zurich, these fiber optic networks are already being used to deliver , digital telephony, TV, and network-based video or audio services (“streaming”). However, by the end of this decade, even these optical communication networks may reach their limits when it comes to rapid data transmission.

This is due to the growing demand for online services for streaming, storage and computation, as well as the advent of artificial intelligence and 5G networks. Today’s optical networks achieve data transmission rates in the region of gigabits (109 bits) per second. The limit is around 100 gigabits per lane und wavelength. In the future, however, transmission rates will need to reach the terabit region (1012 bits per second).

Jul 4, 2020

Search Engine Strategies of the Brain: Why Some Words May Be More Memorable Than Others

Posted by in categories: finance, health, internet, robotics/AI

Thousands of words, big and small, are crammed inside our memory banks just waiting to be swiftly withdrawn and strung into sentences. In a recent study of epilepsy patients and healthy volunteers, National Institutes of Health researchers found that our brains may withdraw some common words, like “pig,” “tank,” and “door,” much more often than others, including “cat,” “street,” and “stair.” By combining memory tests, brain wave recordings, and surveys of billions of words published in books, news articles and internet encyclopedia pages, the researchers not only showed how our brains may recall words but also memories of our past experiences.

“We found that some words are much more memorable than others. Our results support the idea that our memories are wired into neural networks and that our brains search for these memories, just the way search engines track down information on the internet,” said Weizhen (Zane) Xie, Ph.D., a cognitive psychologist and post-doctoral fellow at the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), who led the study published in Nature Human Behaviour. “We hope that these results can be used as a roadmap to evaluate the health of a person’s memory and brain.”

Dr. Xie and his colleagues first spotted these words when they re-analyzed the results of memory tests taken by 30 epilepsy patients who were part of a clinical trial led by Kareem Zaghloul, M.D., Ph.D., a neurosurgeon and senior investigator at NINDS. Dr. Zaghloul’s team tries to help patients whose seizures cannot be controlled by drugs, otherwise known as intractable epilepsy. During the observation period, patients spend several days at the NIH’s Clinical Center with surgically implanted electrodes designed to detect changes in brain activity.

Continue reading “Search Engine Strategies of the Brain: Why Some Words May Be More Memorable Than Others” »

Jul 3, 2020

SpaceX nails second Falcon nosecone recovery in one month

Posted by in categories: internet, military, satellites

SpaceX has successfully recovered two pairs of Falcon 9 payload fairings (nosecones) – one twice-flown – in one month after twin ships GO Ms. Tree and GO Ms. Chief returned to port on July 2nd.

Around 45 minutes after Falcon 9 B1060 lifted off for the first time with the US military’s third upgraded GPS III satellite in tow and around 40 minutes after the rocket’s payload fairing deployed, both fairing halves gently splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean just a few miles apart. Lacking their main recovery nets in an odd configuration, Ms. Tree and Ms. Chief both fished one half out of the ocean with smaller secondary nets before placing the fairings on their decks for technicians to secure them.

A little more than two weeks prior, both ships were in the midst of recovering the Starlink-8 mission’s twice-flown fairings from the ocean, safely returning them – intact – to shore for the first time since SpaceX began fairing reuse. As SpaceX itself noted at the tail end of its GPS III SV03 webcast, the intact recovery of the mission’s fairing halves all but guarantees that they’ll be reused in the near future.

Jul 2, 2020

The Key Device Needed for a Quantum Internet

Posted by in categories: internet, quantum physics

As researchers worldwide work toward a potential quantum internet, a major roadblock remains: How to build a device called a quantum repeater.

Jul 2, 2020

Musk Reads: How SpaceX could reach Mars before 2030

Posted by in categories: internet, space

Crew Dragon offers views of Earth and Robert Zubrin calls for developing the asteroid belt. Could Starlink work with an RV? It’s Musk Reads: SpaceX Edition #181.

A version of this article appeared in the “Musk Reads” newsletter. Sign up for free here.

Jul 1, 2020

India TikTok Ban Threatens China’s Rise as Global Tech Power

Posted by in categories: government, internet

India’s unprecedented decision to ban 59 of China’s largest apps is a warning to the country’s tech giants, who for years thrived behind a government-imposed Great Firewall that kept out many of America’s best-known internet names. If India finds a way to carry out that threat, it may present a model for other countries from Europe to Southeast Asia that seek to curtail the pervasiveness of apps like ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok while safeguarding their citizens’ valuable data.


China over the past decade built an alternate online reality where Google and Facebook barely exist. Now its own tech corporations, from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to Tencent Holdings Ltd., are getting a taste of what a shutout feels like.

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Jul 1, 2020

Nanosatellites could beam ‘quantum internet’ to Earth

Posted by in categories: internet, quantum physics, satellites

Tiny satellites could be the key to a global quantum internet network. That could mean internet from space on Earth, and communication between spacecraft.

Jun 29, 2020

How Chinese tech giants are disrupting insurance industry with pooled funds

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, finance, health, information science, internet, mobile phones

However, the situation has been improving as Chinese tech giants including e-commerce company Alibaba, search engine Baidu, on-demand delivery company Meituan Dianping, ride-hailing operator Didi Chuxing and smartphone maker Xiaomi now offer more affordable health care plans via mutual aid platforms, which operate as a collective claim-sharing mechanism.


China’s online mutual aid platforms are disrupting old school insurance companies by leveraging big data and internet finance technologies to offer low cost medical coverage.

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Jun 28, 2020

Scientists Have Demonstrated Quantum Entanglement on a Tiny Satellite Orbiting Earth

Posted by in categories: internet, particle physics, quantum physics, space

In the strange field of quantum physics, quantum entanglement – what Einstein called “spooky action at a distance” – stands out as one of the most intriguing phenomena. And now scientists just managed to successfully demonstrate it again, this time onboard a CubeSat satellite orbiting Earth.

Quantum entanglement is where two particles become inextricably linked across a distance, so that one serves as an indicator of the other in a certain aspect. That unbreakable link might one day form the basis of a super-fast, super-secure quantum internet.

While a quantum internet is still some way off, if we want to make it work, it’s going to require something other than optical fibres.

Continue reading “Scientists Have Demonstrated Quantum Entanglement on a Tiny Satellite Orbiting Earth” »

Jun 27, 2020

SpaceX to Offer High-Speed Internet from Space to Rural Canada

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, internet, space travel

Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX, has applied to offer high-speed internet to people living in rural parts of Canada, the offer has yet to be accepted by the Canadian telecom company.

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