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Jan 14, 2020

Shadow of doubt cast over China’s sovereign digital currency plan

Posted by in category: finance

Some have called for caution with regards to China’s digital currency, with the urgency to rush through Beijing’s own plan now lessened as Libra, which is perceived by Beijing as a major threat to China’s financial sovereignty, faces major regulatory obstacles worldwide.


The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) stepped up its plan to launch a sovereign digital currency in response to Facebook’s Libra digital currency.

Continue reading “Shadow of doubt cast over China’s sovereign digital currency plan” »

Jan 13, 2020

More Than One Reality Exists (in Quantum Physics)

Posted by in category: quantum physics

New experiments addressed a decades-old theoretical question in physics, demonstrating that two realities can exist at the same time.

Jan 13, 2020

Exploit that gives remote access affects ~200 million cable modems

Posted by in category: cybercrime/malcode

Cable Haunt lets attackers take complete control when targets visit booby-trapped sites.

Jan 13, 2020

Atomic tuning on cobalt enables an eightfold increase of hydrogen peroxide production

Posted by in categories: computing, particle physics

IBS scientists and their colleagues have recently report an ultimate electrocatalyst that addresses all of the issues that trouble H2O2 production. This new catalyst comprising the optimal Co-N4 molecules incorporated in nitrogen-doped graphene, Co1-NG(O), exhibits a record-high electrocatalytic reactivity, producing up to 8 times higher than the amount of H2O2 that can be generated from rather expensive noble metal-based electrocatalysts.

Just as we take a shower to wash away dirt and other particles, semiconductors also require a cleaning process. However, its cleaning goes to extremes to ensure even trace contaminants “leave no trace.” After all the chip fabrication materials are applied to a silicon wafer, a strict cleaning process is taken to remove residual particles. If this high-purity cleaning and particle-removal step goes wrong, electrical connections in the chip are likely to suffer from it. With ever-miniaturized gadgets on the market, the purity standards of the electronics industry reach a level equivalent to finding a needle in a desert.

That explains why (H2O2), a major electronic cleaning chemical, is one of the most valuable chemical feedstocks that underpins the chip-making industry. Despite the ever-growing importance of H2O2, its industry has been left with an energy-intensive and multi-step method known as the anthraquinone process. This is an environmentally unfriendly process which involves the hydrogenation step using expensive palladium catalysts. Alternatively, H2O2 can be synthesized directly from H2 and O2 gas, although the reactivity is still very poor and it requires high pressure. Another eco-friendly method is to electrochemically reduce oxygen to H2O2 a via 2-electron pathway. Recently, noble metal-based electrocatalysts (for example, Au-Pd, Pt-Hg, and Pd-Hg) have been demonstrated to show H2O2 productivity although such expensive investments have seen low returns that fail to meet the scalable industry needs.

Jan 13, 2020

Influential electrons? Physicists uncover a quantum relationship

Posted by in categories: materials, quantum physics

A team of physicists has mapped how electron energies vary from region to region in a particular quantum state with unprecedented clarity. This understanding reveals an underlying mechanism by which electrons influence one another, termed quantum “hybridization,” that had been invisible in previous experiments.

The findings, the work of scientists at New York University, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Rutgers University, and MIT, are reported in the journal Nature Physics.

“This sort of relationship is essential to understanding a quantum electron system—and the foundation of all movement—but had often been studied from a theoretical standpoint and not thought of as observable through experiments,” explains Andrew Wray, an assistant professor in NYU’s Department of Physics and one of the paper’s co-authors. “Remarkably, this work reveals a diversity of energetic environments inside the same material, allowing for comparisons that let us spot how electrons shift between states.”

Jan 13, 2020

Tuning optical resonators gives researchers control over transparency

Posted by in categories: mathematics, quantum physics

In the quantum realm, under some circumstances and with the right interference patterns, light can pass through opaque media.

This feature of is more than a mathematical trick; optical quantum memory, optical storage and other systems that depend on interactions of just a few photons at a time rely on the process, called electromagnetically induced transparency, also known as EIT.

Because of its usefulness in existing and emerging quantum and optical technologies, researchers are interested in the ability to manipulate EIT without the introduction of an outside influence, such as additional photons that could perturb the already delicate system. Now, researchers at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis have devised a fully contained optical system that can be used to turn transparency on and off, allowing for a measure of control that has implications across a wide variety of applications.

Jan 13, 2020

Meteorite contains the oldest material on Earth: 7-billion-year-old stardust

Posted by in category: particle physics

Stars have life cycles. They’re born when bits of dust and gas floating through space find each other and collapse in on each other and heat up. They burn for millions to billions of years, and then they die. When they die, they pitch the particles that formed in their winds out into space, and those bits of stardust eventually form new stars, along with new planets and moons and meteorites. And in a meteorite that fell fifty years ago in Australia, scientists have now discovered stardust that formed 5 to 7 billion years ago-the oldest solid material ever found on Earth.

“This is one of the most exciting studies I’ve worked on,” says Philipp Heck, a curator at the Field Museum, associate professor at the University of Chicago, and lead author of a paper describing the findings in PNAS. “These are the oldest solid materials ever found, and they tell us about how formed in our galaxy.”

Jan 13, 2020

A Facebook Bug Exposed Anonymous Admins of Pages

Posted by in category: futurism

A bad code update allowed anyone to easily reveal which accounts posted to Facebook Pages—including celebrities and politicians—for several hours.

Jan 13, 2020

A New Dental Procedure Could Eliminate Tooth Loss

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, life extension

Tooth loss is a concern that most people will face at some point in their life. According to studies, by the age of 74, 26 percent of adults will have lost all of their permanent teeth. Dentures are sufficient, but they’re uncomfortable and dental implants can fail and have no ability to “remodel” as the surrounding jaw bone changes with age.

All of these are reasons why some people have placed their hope in stem cell research. While there are controversy surrounds the new medical method such as the use and destruction of human embryos, not all research involves human tissue and has the potential to change a lot of lives.

A new technique being tested in the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory of Dr. Jeremy Mao, Edward V. Zegarelli prof of odontology, and a professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia University, could make “tooth loss” a thing of the past. The cluster believes they need to find some ways to own the body’s stem cells, migrate it to a three-dimensional scaffold manufactured from natural material and insert it to a patient’s mouth.

Jan 13, 2020

7 Billion-Year-Old Stardust Is Oldest Material Found on Earth

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks, space travel

Scientists recently identified the oldest material on Earth: stardust that’s 7 billion years old, tucked away in a massive, rocky meteorite that struck our planet half a century ago.

This ancient interstellar dust, made of presolar grains (dust grains that predate our sun), was belched into the universe by dying stars during the final stages of their lives. Some of that dust eventually hitched a ride to Earth on an asteroid that produced the Murchison meteorite, a massive, 220-lb. (100 kilograms) rock that fell on Sept. 28, 1969, near Murchison, Victoria, in Australia.