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Apr 16, 2020

US Navy’s New Drone Warship Can Drive Itself

Posted by in categories: drones, military

Click on photo to start video.

The as it hunts submarines.

The US Navy’s new drone warship can drive itself as it hunts submarines.

Apr 16, 2020

Why some Covid-19 patients might have tested positive twice

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Don’t assume they were reinfected.

Apr 16, 2020

Facebook is using bots to simulate what its users might do

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Has developed a new method to play out the consequences of its code.

The context: Like any software company, the tech giant needs to test its product any time it pushes updates. But the sorts of debugging methods that normal-size companies use aren’t really enough when you’ve got 2.5 billion users. Such methods usually focus on checking how a single user might experience the platform and whether the software responds to those individual users’ actions as expected. In contrast, as many as 25% of Facebook’s major issues emerge only when users begin interacting with one another. It can be difficult to see how the introduction of a feature or updates to a privacy setting might play out across billions of user interactions.

SimCity: In response, Facebook built a scaled-down version of its platform to simulate user behavior. Called WW, it helps engineers identify and fix the undesired consequences of new updates before they’re deployed. It also automatically recommends changes that can be made to the platform to improve the community experience.

Apr 16, 2020

Space and Missile Systems Center awards $35 million Space Test Program

Posted by in categories: futurism, satellites

The U.S. Space Force’s Rocket Systems Launch Program (RSLP) Office at Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, New Mexico, part of the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Launch Enterprise, today awarded a $35 million task order to VOX Space, LLC of El Segundo, California, for the Space Test Program-S28 (STP-S28) launch service. This is the first task order under the Orbital Services Program-4 (OSP-4) Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract.

STP-S28 is a complex mission that will deliver a number of technology demonstrations to orbit, such as Space Domain Awareness and communications advancement, and inform future space system development.

VOX Space, a U.S.-incorporated, wholly-owned subsidiary of Virgin Orbit, LLC, will utilize three launches of the LauncherOne rocket to deliver 44 small satellites to low earth orbit. The first launch is tentatively planned for October 2021.

Apr 16, 2020

Space industry consortium concerned about financial health of small businesses

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business, finance, health, military

WASHINGTON — The Space Enterprise Consortium — an organization created in 2017 to attract space companies to work on military contracts — is canvassing firms to gauge the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on businesses.

The consortium known as SpEC is run by the U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles. It has more than 350 member companies, many of them space startups and small businesses.

In an April 15 email the consortium asked members to identify those that have fewer than 50 employees.

Apr 16, 2020

Haptics researchers find that the biomechanics of the skin can perform useful tactile computations

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

As our body’s largest and most prominent organ, the skin also provides one of our most fundamental connections to the world around us. From the moment we’re born, it is intimately involved in every physical interaction we have.

Though scientists have studied the , or haptics, for more than a century, many aspects of how it works remain a mystery.

“The sense of is not fully understood, even though it is at the heart of our ability to interact with the world,” said UC Santa Barbara haptics researcher Yon Visell. “Anything we do with our hands—picking up a glass, signing our name or finding keys in our bag—none of that is possible without the sense of touch. Yet we don’t fully understand the nature of the sensations captured by the or how they are processed in order to enable perception and action.”

Apr 16, 2020

As more work from home, Dell unveils new BIOS shield

Posted by in categories: business, cybercrime/malcode, habitats

As millions of employees are suddenly working from home, computer security threats are on the rise. The sudden rush to set up home offices means many users working on insufficiently protected devices are exposing businesses to unprecedented new exposure to malicious hackers.

“While the world is grinding to a halt, cyber-attacks are on the rise, preying on public fear and anxiety,” says Yenni Tim, researcher of Cybersecurity at the University of New South Wales Business School in Sydney, Australia.

In an effort to combat , Dell Technologies last week released a utility that will protect one of the most sensitive components of a computer, the BIOS. Frequently the target of the most malicious malware assaults, the BIOS oversees critical computer processes, from boot-up to system configuration parameters.

Apr 16, 2020

Why did a Chinese university hire Charles Lieber to do battery research?

Posted by in categories: economics, government, law enforcement, military, nanotechnology

Among the ongoing mysteries surrounding last week’s arrest of Harvard University nanoscientist Charles Lieber is the precise nature of the research program Lieber was conducting in his cooperation with Chinese researchers.

Lieber was arrested on 28 January on charges of making false statements to U.S. law enforcement officials and federal funding agencies about a collaboration he forged with researchers in China. He was released two days later on a $1 million bond. An affidavit outlining the charges against Lieber notes that in January 2013, he signed an agreement between Harvard and Wuhan University of Technology (WUT) in China. According to the affidavit, “The stated purpose of the agreement, which had a five-year effective term, was to ‘carry out advanced research and development of nanowire-based lithium ion batteries with high performance for electric vehicles.’”

Officials at WUT have not responded to requests for comment on their agreement with Lieber. But it outlines just the kind of high-tech work that U.S. prosecutors involved in efforts to investigate Chinese attempts to acquire advanced technology from U.S.-based researchers say they are concerned about. They allege that the Chinese government has used such collaborations to improperly take advantage of the federally funded research enterprise, and gain an edge in economic and military advances.

Apr 16, 2020

Russia conducts another test of its missile system to take out satellites

Posted by in categories: military, satellites

ASAT tests are also widely condemned by many in the space community, as these demonstrations typically create hundreds to thousands of pieces of debris that can last for months, and even years, in orbit. Because these tests are high speed and high impact, the resulting debris can spread far and wide. Those pieces then pose a threat to other functioning spacecraft. A fast-moving piece of junk can render an operational satellite inoperable if they hit head on.

Today, Russia conducted another test of its missile system designed to destroy a satellite in orbit around Earth, according to US Space Command. It is believed to be the 10th test of this anti-satellite, or ASAT, technology, but it’s unclear if the missile actually destroyed anything in space.

Regardless of its target, US Space Command is openly condemning the demonstration. “Russia’s [anti-satellite] test provides yet another example that the threats to US and allied space systems are real, serious, and growing,” Gen. John Raymond, commander of USSPACECOM and the US Space Force chief of space operations, said in a statement. “The United States is ready and committed to deterring aggression and defending the Nation, our allies and U.S. interests from hostile acts in space.”

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Apr 16, 2020

Google’s AI enables robots to make decisions on the fly

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

In a new study, Google researchers describe a system that makes decisions continuously in response to changes in the environment.