Curating the Internet: Science and technology micro-summaries for October 27, 2019

in rsslog •  7 months ago 

Dark web take-down by law enforcement did not require encryption back door; IEEE Spectrum's weekly selection of awesome robot videos; 1,500 year old church unearthed in Israel; A quantum computing algorithm to explore the bridge from quantum to classical; and a Steem post reporting on recent work with a new technique to measure the Hubble constant

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Links and micro-summaries from my 1000+ daily headlines. I filter them so you don't have to.


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  1. Dark Web Site Taken Down without Breaking Encryption - Bruce Schneier comments on a report of the recent take down of a child-porn site that led to 337 arrests. The takedown was accomplished by sending small amounts - on the order of $100-$300 - to published bitcoin addresses, and watching that money flow through the distributed ledger until it landed in an identifiable location. Schneier points out, "Remember this the next time some law enforcement official tells us that they're powerless to investigate crime without breaking cryptography for everyone.".

  2. Video Friday: Kuka's Robutt Is a Robot Designed to Assess New Car Seats - IEEE Spectrum's weekly selection of awesome robot videos includes: Robutt, a robot that simulates thousands of human backsides for testing of automotive seat-cushions (I wonder if they remembered to place a wallet in the back pocket...); A robot constructed from a 3D printer that prints and uses its own mechanical components; Lockheed Martin's Onyx military grade exoskeleton that gives soldiers more strength and endurance; A biped that walks on "rough, uneven, or compliant surfaces"; A position-controlled quadruped that can walk and do flips without contact sensors; a demo video showing how drone operation can be improved by training on virtual drones before physical ones; a teaser video for NASA's Lucy mission; and more...

    Here is my favorite - a robotic swarm algorithm for search & rescue, industrial and other purposes:

Check out the link and post about your favorite videos in comments.

  • Israeli archaeologists unearth 1,500-year-old Byzantine church - The church, in Jerusalem, was dedicated to an unknown "glorious martyr", and partially funded by the emperor, Tiberius II Constantinus. Although the martyr is unknown, the opulence of the church indicates suggests that the person was important and their remains are believed to be located in an underground crypt below the church. The church is about 1,500 years old, and remained in use until about the 9th century AD. The Israel Antiquities Authorities recently showcased some of the artefacts that were unearthed from the site during its three years of excavation. After the collapse of the Byzantine Empire, the entrances to the church had been sealed with large stones, which have now been removed by excavators. h/t

  • Using Quantum Computers to Test the Fundamentals of Physics - In this article, Andrew Sornborger and Andreas Albrecht describe their work creating an algorithm to explore the bridge between the infinitesimal scale where quantum properties dominate and the larger scale where classical rules describe things better. The algorithm works by finding "consistent histories" to describe the transition from quantum to classical for systems made up of many components. Historically, this has been a notoriously difficult - and even intractable - problem. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the algorithm relies on use of quantum computers, and a quantum computer that's powerful enough to solve useful problems still needs to be developed. It seems to me that this work relates closely to the quantum measurement problem that was covered in Curating the Internet: Science and technology micro-summaries for October 25, 2019.

  • STEEM Gravitational Lens Measure The Hubble Constant - in this post, @kralizec describes work by Geoff Chen and colleagues to measure the Hubble Constant, or the speed of the expansion of the universe, using data from the Hubble telescopes and a new adaptive optical technique applied to a ground-based telescope in Hawaii. By observing 3 quasar systems, PG1115+ 080, HE0435-1223, and RXJ1131-1231 the team was able to mark the Hubble constant at 76.8 +-2.6 kmpspMpc (kilometer per second per megaparsec) or three million light-years. @kralizec also points out that measurements for the Hubble constant vary according to the closeness of the object under observation. Nearby objects, representing the younger universe, are seen to be expanding more slowly than more distant objects, which represent the earlier history of the universe. (A 10% beneficiary has been applied to this post for @kralizec.)

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