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Geek

Microsoft-Led Team Retracts Disputed Quantum-Computing Paper

Slashdot - 35 min 23 sec ago
A Microsoft-led team of physicists has retracted a high-profile 2018 paper that the company touted as a key breakthrough in the creation of a practical quantum computer, a device that promises vast new computing power by tapping quantum mechanics. From a report: The retracted paper came from a lab headed by Microsoft physicist Leo Kouwenhoven at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. It claimed to have found evidence of Majorana particles, long-theorized but never conclusively detected. The elusive entities are at the heart of Microsoft's approach to quantum computing hardware, which lags behind that of others such as IBM and Google. WIRED reported last month that other physicists had questioned the discovery after receiving fuller data from the Delft team. Sergey Frolov, from the University of Pittsburgh, and Vincent Mourik, at University of New South Wales, in Australia, said it appeared that data that cast doubt on the Majorana claim was withheld. Monday, the original authors published a retraction note in the prestigious journal Nature, which published the earlier paper, admitting the whistleblowers were right. Data was "unnecessarily corrected," it says. The note also says that repeating the experiment revealed a miscalibration error that skewed all the original data, making the Majorana sighting a mirage. "We apologize to the community for insufficient scientific rigor in our original manuscript," the researchers wrote. Frolov and Mourik's concerns also triggered an investigation at Delft, which Monday released a report from four physicists not involved in the project. It concludes that the researchers did not intend to mislead but were "caught up in the excitement of the moment," and selected data that fit their own hopes for a major discovery. The report sums up that breach of the norms of the scientific method with a quote from physics Nobel laureate Richard Feynman: "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself -- and you are the easiest person to fool." The Delft lab released raw data from its 2018 experiment Monday. Frolov and Mourik say that it should also release full data from its Majorana hunting project going back until 2010 for others to analyze.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Popular YouTubers Are Building Their Own Sites

Slashdot - 1 hour 15 min ago
An anonymous reader shares a report: Whether he's showing off astronomically expensive computer gaming hardware or dumpster-diving for the cheapest PC builds possible, Linus Sebastian's videos always strike a chord, and have made him one of the most popular tech personalities on YouTube. But Google-owned YouTube gets most episodes of Linus Tech Tips a week late. Now, they debut on his own site called Floatplane, which attracts a much smaller crowd. "Google has been very, very good to me," Linus says. "But it's a lot of eggs in one basket." And with a staff of two dozen, he cannot rely on the company to continue being what he calls his "benevolent overlord". He is not the only YouTube star looking for alternatives. For a long time there have been tensions between those creating content on YouTube and the company providing the platform, ranging from disputes about ad revenue, to copyright problems, and even rows about the way videos are recommended to people. Many successful YouTubers are now sizeable companies in their own right, and are seeking to safeguard their futures. For the last few years, Linus and co-worker Luke Lafreniere have been investing in their own platform called Floatplane. The pair stress that it is not -- and never will be -- a YouTube competitor. But they hope to provide a platform for existing video creators with a loyal audience, who might be willing to pay a few dollars a month to directly support the video-makers they love.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Saudi Arabia's Bold Plan To Rule the $700 Billion Hydrogen Market

Slashdot - 1 hour 55 min ago
The kingdom is building a $5 billion plant to make green fuel for export and lessen the country's dependence on petrodollars. From a report: Sun-scorched expanses and steady Red Sea breezes make the northwest tip of Saudi Arabia prime real estate for what the kingdom hopes will become a global hub for green hydrogen. As governments and industries seek less-polluting alternatives to hydrocarbons, the world's biggest crude exporter doesn't want to cede the burgeoning hydrogen business to China, Europe or Australia and lose a potentially massive source of income. So it's building a $5 billion plant powered entirely by sun and wind that will be among the world's biggest green hydrogen makers when it opens in the planned megacity of Neom in 2025. The task of turning a patch of desert the size of Belgium into a metropolis powered by renewable energy falls to Peter Terium, the former chief executive officer of RWE AG, Germany's biggest utility, and clean-energy spinoff Innogy SE. His performance will help determine whether a country dependent on petrodollars can transition into a supplier of non-polluting fuels. "There's nothing I've ever seen or heard of this dimension or challenge," Terium said. "I've been spending the last two years wrapping my mind around 'from scratch,' and now we're very much in execution mode." Hydrogen is morphing from a niche power source -- used in zeppelins, rockets and nuclear weapons == into big business, with the European Union alone committing $500 billion to scale up its infrastructure. Huge obstacles remain to the gas becoming a major part of the energy transition, and skeptics point to Saudi Arabia's weak track record so far capitalizing on what should be a competitive edge in the renewables business, especially solar, where there are many plans but few operational projects. But countries are jostling for position in a future global market, and hydrogen experts list the kingdom as one to watch. The U.K. is hosting 10 projects to heat buildings with the gas, China is deploying fuel-cell buses and commercial vehicles, and Japan is planning to use the gas in steelmaking. U.S. presidential climate envoy John Kerry urged the domestic oil and gas industry to embrace hydrogen's "huge opportunities." That should mean plenty of potential customers for the plant called Helios Green Fuels. Saudi Arabia is setting its sights on becoming the world's largest supplier of hydrogen -- a market that BloombergNEF estimates could be worth as much as $700 billion by 2050. "You're seeing a more diversified portfolio of energy exports that is more resilient," said Shihab Elborai, a Dubai-based partner at consultant Strategy&. "It's diversified against any uncertainties in the rate and timing of the energy transition." Blueprints are being drawn and strategies are being announced, but it's still early days for the industry. Hydrogen is expensive to make without expelling greenhouse gases, difficult to store and highly combustible. Green hydrogen is produced by using renewable energy rather than fossil fuels. The current cost of producing a kilogram is a little under $5, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Fully Vaccinated Individuals Can Socialize Without Masks, Distancing, CDC Says

Slashdot - 2 hours 55 min ago
schwit1 writes: Americans who have received the full COVID-19 vaccine can gather with vaccinated grandparents or friends without wearing masks or keeping their distance, according to new CDC guidance announced Monday, and those grandparents can visit with and hug family members that aren't vaccinated as long as they don't have underlying medical conditions that put them at high risk for COVID-19. The new guidance also says that vaccinated individuals don't need to quarantine or get tested if they come in contact with someone positive for COVID-19 and don't have any symptoms.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

DARPA Taps Intel To Help Build the Holy Grail of Encryption

Slashdot - 3 hours 35 min ago
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, has signed an agreement with Intel to add it to its Data Protection in Virtual Environments project, which aims to create a practically useful form of fully homomorphic encryption. From a report: Fully homomorphic encryption has been described as the "holy grail" of encryption because it allows encrypted data to be used without ever having to decrypt it. Fully homomorphic encryption isn't fantasy -- it already exists and is usable, but it is incredibly impractical. "FHE adoption in the industry has been slow because processing data using fully homomorphic encryption methods on cryptograms is data intensive and incurs a huge 'performance tax' even for simple operations," Intel said in a press release. The potential benefits of fully homomorphic encryption make creating a practical way to use it a cybersecurity imperative. Intel succinctly describes the biggest problem in data security as being caused by "encryption techniques [that] require that data be decrypted for processing. It is during this decrypted state that data can become more vulnerable for misuse." The goal of the Data Protection in Virtual Environments program is to develop an accelerator for fully homomorphic encryption that will make it more practical and scalable, which is where Intel comes in. The chip manufacturer's role in the project will be academic research and the development of an application-specific integrated circuit that will accelerate fully homomorphic encryption processing. Intel said that, when fully realized, its accelerator chip could reduce processing times by five orders of magnitude over existing CPU-driven fully homomorphic encryption systems.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Flexport is hiring engineers in Chicago

Hacker News - 4 hours 24 min ago

Article URL: https://flexport.com/careers

Comments URL: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26388084

Points: 1

# Comments: 0

Categories: Geek

Intel's Thunderbolt Pushes Into Mainstream as Fast Alternative To USB

Slashdot - 4 hours 31 min ago
Thunderbolt, Intel's super-speedy connection technology, isn't widely used. But that may change in the coming year, as more computer makers incorporate the USB competitor into their new models. From a report: Intel has hoped Thunderbolt, which debuted in 2011 on Apple's 2011 MacBook Pro, would become commonplace for computer users. A year later, the chipmaker forecast that "most PCs" would have Thunderbolt by 2015 to 2017. Despite the hype, only premium PCs carry the fast connection. To get a boost in adoption, Intel has built Thunderbolt into its newest Core processors, code-named Tiger Lake, which means laptop makers get Thunderbolt without having to pay extra for separate controller chips. Because Intel chips are so widely used, the company says Thunderbolt will now have its moment to shine. "I would expect by 2022 Thunderbolt will be in more than 50% of the PCs sold," said Jason Ziller, who runs Intel's connectivity products, adding that more than half of laptops that ship in the next year will "definitely" carry the technology. Ziller has led Thunderbolt work since before it debuted in Apple's 2011 MacBook Pro laptops almost exactly 10 years ago. PC ports don't capture the imagination the way fast processors or smartphone cameras do. But they're a crucial part of most people's computing experience. Thunderbolt ports provide fast and versatile connections to external storage devices, monitors, network adapters and other peripherals. They can replace ports for HDMI, DisplayPort, Ethernet and power. The new Thunderbolt 4 lets multiport docks and hubs offer three Thunderbolt ports instead of just one.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Monday’s best deals: Save $300 on Apple Watch Series 5, iPad Pro $100 off, more

9to5Mac - 4 hours 34 min ago

All of the best deals today are headlined by an Apple Watch Series 5 clearance event at Amazon. You’ll also be able to save on the latest iPad Pros as well as Twelve South’s stylish iPhone 12 leather BookBook case. Hit the jump for all that and more in the latest 9to5Toys Lunch Break.

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The post Monday’s best deals: Save $300 on Apple Watch Series 5, iPad Pro $100 off, more appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

Apple is discontinuing the iMac Pro once supplies run out

iDownloadBlog - 4 hours 41 min ago

After launching the iMac Pro in 2017, Apple will discontinue the desktop computer once supplies run out.
Categories: Geek

WhatsApp is working on password-protected encrypted iCloud backups

iDownloadBlog - 5 hours 14 min ago

An illustration with a WhatsApp logo in white set against a green background

You will be able to protect WhatsApp chats and media backed up to iCloud with an encryption password, which will also be required when restoring from a backup file.
Categories: Geek

Could Plastic Roads Make for a Smoother Ride?

Slashdot - 5 hours 15 min ago
From lower carbon emissions to fewer potholes, there are a number of benefits to building a layer of plastic into roads. From a report: On a road into New Delhi, countless cars a day speed over tonnes of plastic bags, bottle tops and discarded polystyrene cups. In a single kilometre, a driver covers one tonne of plastic waste. But far from being an unpleasant journey through a sea of litter, this road is smooth and well-maintained -- in fact the plastic that each driver passes over isn't visible to the naked eye. It is simply a part of the road. This road, stretching from New Delhi to nearby Meerut, was laid using a system developed by Rajagopalan Vasudevan, a professor of chemistry at the Thiagarajar College of Engineering in India, which replaces 10% of a road's bitumen with repurposed plastic waste. India has been leading the world in experimenting with plastic-tar roads since the early 2000s. But a growing number of countries are beginning to follow suit. From Ghana to the Netherlands, building plastic into roads and pathways is helping to save carbon emissions, keep plastic from the oceans and landfill, and improve the life-expectancy of the average road. By 2040, there is set to be 1.3 billion tonnes of plastic in the environment globally. India alone already generates more than 3.3 million tonnes of plastic a year -- which was one of the motivators behind Vasudevan's system for incorporating waste into roads. It has the benefit of being a very simple process, requiring little high-tech machinery. First, the shredded plastic waste is scattered onto an aggregate of crushed stones and sand before being heated to about 170C -- hot enough to melt the waste. The melted plastics then coat the aggregate in a thin layer. Then heated bitumen is added on top, which helps to solidify the aggregate, and the mixture is complete. Many different types of plastics can be added to the mix: carrier bags, disposable cups, hard-to-recycle multi-layer films and polyethylene and polypropylene foams have all found their way into India's roads, and they don't have to be sorted or cleaned before shredding.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

9to5Mac Daily: March 08, 2021 – iMac Pro discontinued, Apple’s AR and VR plans

9to5Mac - 5 hours 30 min ago

Listen to a recap of the top stories of the day from 9to5Mac. 9to5Mac Daily is available on iTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play, or through our dedicated RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

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The post 9to5Mac Daily: March 08, 2021 – iMac Pro discontinued, Apple’s AR and VR plans appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

Apple TV+ announces a new programming partnership with Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai

iDownloadBlog - 5 hours 34 min ago

Apple TV+ has secured a multiyear programming partnership with Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai.
Categories: Geek

Apple celebrates International Women’s Day with special collections in the App Store, Apple Music app, and more

9to5Mac - 5 hours 34 min ago

On March 8, the world celebrates International Women’s Day. Apple is joining in by featuring apps, stories, podcasts, songs, and more created by women.

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The post Apple celebrates International Women’s Day with special collections in the App Store, Apple Music app, and more appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

Apple may host its first event of 2021 on March 23

iDownloadBlog - 5 hours 41 min ago

Apple's first event of 2021 may arrive on Tuesday, March 23.
Categories: Geek

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