FAA: Airlines Must Retrofit Faulty Altimeters 'As Soon As Possible'
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica:
The Federal Aviation Administration says it finally has a plan for the industry to replace or retrofit airplane altimeters that can't filter out transmissions from outside their allotted frequencies. The altimeter problem has prevented AT&T and Verizon from fully deploying 5G on the C-Band spectrum licenses the wireless carriers purchased for a combined $69 billion. The FAA was urging airlines to retrofit or replace altimeters in recent months and now says it has finalized a plan. An FAA statement on Friday said that "airlines and other operators of aircraft equipped with the affected radio altimeters must install filters or other enhancements as soon as possible."
AT&T and Verizon said they will be able to accelerate 5G deployments near airports in the coming months, but the carriers agreed to continue some level of "voluntary mitigations" in the airport areas until July 2023. Altimeters are used by airplanes to measure altitude. The FAA said a new "phased approach requires operators of regional aircraft with radio altimeters most susceptible to interference to retrofit them with radio frequency filters by the end of 2022. This work has already begun and will continue on an expedited basis."
Additionally, "filters and replacement units for the mainline commercial fleet should be available on a schedule that would permit the work to be largely completed by July 2023," the FAA said, continuing: "The radio-altimeter manufacturers have worked at an unprecedented pace with Embraer, Boeing, Airbus and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to develop and test filters and installation kits for these aircraft. Customers are receiving the first kits now. In most cases, the kits can be installed in a few hours at airline maintenance facilities. Throughout this process, the FAA will work with both industries to track the pace of the radio altimeter retrofits while also working with the wireless companies to relax mitigations around key airports in carefully considered phases."
Physicists Say They've Built an Atom Laser That Can Run 'Forever'
A new breakthrough has allowed physicists to create a beam of atoms that behaves the same way as a laser, and that
can theoretically stay on "forever." ScienceAlert reports:
At the root of the atom laser is a state of matter called a Bose-Einstein condensate, or BEC. A BEC is created by cooling a cloud of bosons to just a fraction above absolute zero. At such low temperatures, the atoms sink to their lowest possible energy state without stopping completely. When they reach these low energies, the particles' quantum properties can no longer interfere with each other; they move close enough to each other to sort of overlap, resulting in a high-density cloud of atoms that behaves like one 'super atom' or matter wave. However, BECs are something of a paradox. They're very fragile; even light can destroy a BEC. Given that the atoms in a BEC are cooled using optical lasers, this usually means that a BEC's existence is fleeting.
Atom lasers that scientists have managed to achieve to date have been of the pulsed, rather than continuous variety; and involve firing off just one pulse before a new BEC needs to be generated. In order to create a continuous BEC, a team of researchers at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands realized something needed to change. "In previous experiments, the gradual cooling of atoms was all done in one place. In our setup, we decided to spread the cooling steps not over time, but in space: we make the atoms move while they progress through consecutive cooling steps," explained physicist Florian Schreck. "In the end, ultracold atoms arrive at the heart of the experiment, where they can be used to form coherent matter waves in a BEC. But while these atoms are being used, new atoms are already on their way to replenish the BEC. In this way, we can keep the process going -- essentially forever." The research has been
published in the journal Nature.
Valve's Steam Deck Makes a Brilliant Case Against Walled Gardens
"Unlike practically every major game console that's come before it, the Steam Deck, from PC gaming giant Valve,
doesn't lock users into one ecosystem," writes Fast Company's Jared Newman. "While Valve's own Steam store is the default way to buy and play games, the Steam Deck also lets users install whatever software they want on the device's Linux-based operating system. The experience has been liberating..." From the report:
In recent weeks, I've gorged on weird indie creations from itch.io, classic games from GOG.com, and free games from the Epic Games Store. I've used Plexamp to stream my personal music collection in place of in-game soundtracks, and I've used Vivaldi to browse the web in the Steam Deck's desktop mode. You don't have to use your Steam Deck this way, but just being knowing that it's an option makes the device more capable and personal. The tech industry is filled with companies that seem deathly afraid of this model, either because they don't trust their users or don't want to risk weakening their own ecosystems. By taking the opposite approach, Valve is proving that open platforms aren't so catastrophic, and it elevates the Steam Deck from yet another gadget into the most exciting consumer electronics device in years. [...]
Valve could have easily used the Steam Deck to lock players into its own ecosystem. It could have opted not to include a desktop mode and withheld instructions on how to lift its read-only restrictions. It could have discouraged users from installing different operating systems and made its recovery tools unavailable to the public. Console makers have long insisted that such restrictions are necessary for the good of their platforms. In 2020, for instance, Microsoft argued that because console makers sell their hardware at or below cost to create a market for their software, they shouldn't have to accommodate third-party app stores or sideloading.
Similar arguments have spilled out into the broader mobile app business as well. In response to a lawsuit from Epic Games, Apple has claimed that its investments in the App Store wouldn't be feasible if it couldn't force developers to use its in-app purchase mechanisms. Some defenders of Apple's viewpoint, such as Daring Fireball's John Gruber, have argued that iOS is more like a game console than a PC platform. So, it's all the more remarkable that Valve ignored all this hand-wringing and made the Steam Deck a haven for tinkerers. Instead of trying to shut out competitors, the company is betting that its own store will prevail on quality. If the Steam Deck successful -- as it appears to be so far -- it could upend years of conventional wisdom around walled gardens and become a threat to other consoles in more ways than one.
DRAM Prices To Drop 3-8% Due To Ukraine War, Inflation
Taiwanese research firm TrendForce
said Monday that DRAM pricing for commercial buyers is
forecast to drop around three to eight percent across those markets in the third quarter compared to the previous three months. Even prices for DDR5 modules in the PC market could drop as much as five percent from July to September. The Register reports:
This could result in DRAM buyers, such as system vendors and distributors, reducing prices for end users if they hope to stimulate demand in markets like PC and smartphones where sales have waned. We suppose they could try to profit on the decreased memory prices, but with many people tightening their budgets, we hope this won't be the case. The culprit for the DRAM price drop is one that we've been hearing a great deal about in the past few months: weaker demand for consumer electronics, including PCs and smartphones, as a result of high inflation and Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, according to TrendForce.
The weaker consumer demand means DRAM inventories are building up at system vendors and distributors, which means they don't need to buy as much in the near future. This, in turn, is why memory prices are dropping, the research firm said. On the PC side, DDR4 memory pricing is expected to drop three to eight percent in the third quarter of 2022 after only seeing a zero to five percent decline in the second quarter. DDR5 pricing, on the other hand, is set to drop by only zero to five percent in Q3 after seeing a three to eight percent plummet in the previous quarter. For certain DRAM products, prices could see a steeper decline of more than eight percent, according to TrendForce, though the firm didn't say which products this would include. TrendForce said PC makers are focused on getting rid of their existing DRAM inventories, and a continuously "sluggish" market means they'll be reticent to buy much more memory.
Adobe Acrobat May Block Antivirus Tools From Monitoring PDF Files
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BleepingComputer:
Security researchers found that Adobe Acrobat is trying to block security software from having visibility into the PDF files it opens, creating a security risk for the users. Adobe's product is checking if components from 30 security products are loaded into its processes and likely blocks them, essentially denying them from monitoring for malicious activity. [...] In a post on Citrix forums on March 28, a user complaining about Sophos AV errors due to having an Adobe product installed said that the company "suggested to disable DLL-injection for Acrobat and Reader.
Replying to BleepingComputer, Adobe confirmed that users have reported experiencing issue due to DLL components from some security products being incompatible with Adobe Acrobat's usage of the CEF library: "We are aware of reports that some DLLs from security tools are incompatible with Adobe Acrobat's usage of CEF, a Chromium based engine with a restricted sandbox design, and may cause stability issues." The company added that it is currently working with these vendors to address the problem and "to ensure proper functionality with Acrobat's CEF sandbox design going forward." Minerva Labs researchers argue that Adobe chose a solution that solves compatibility problems but introduces a real attack risk by preventing security software from protecting the system.
RISC OS: 35-Year-Old Original ARM OS Is Alive and Well
RISC OS, the operating system of the original Arm computer, the Acorn Archimedes,
is still very much alive -- and doing relatively well for its age. The Register reports:
In June 1987, Acorn launched the Archimedes A305 and A310, starting at $982 and running a new operating system called Arthur. At the time, it was a radical and very fast computer. In his review (PDF) for Personal Computer World, Dick Pountain memorably said: "It loads huge programs with a faint burping noise, in the time it takes to blink an eye." Arthur was loosely related to Acorn's earlier MOS, the BBC Micro operating system but looked very different thanks to a prototype graphical desktop, implemented in BBC BASIC, that could charitably be called "technicolor." Renamed RISC OS, version 2 followed in 1989 -- the same year that Sun started selling its new SPARCstation 1 (a snip at $9,200) and DEC launched the MIPS R2000-chipset-based DECstation 3100 (for $10,800).
RISC OS has had a rather convoluted history, partly due to Acorn spinning out Arm, eventually pulling out of the computer market, rebranding as Element 14 and being acquired by Broadcom, where Arm co-designer Sophie Wilson still works today. And partly due to drama over the ownership of the OS post-Acorn at one point. One fork of RISC OS still supports Acorn-era Arm's odd 26-bit mode, meaning that today it mostly runs on the commercial Virtual Acorn emulator. The other branch, designed for the 32-bit mode of more recent Arm chips, is now owned by RISC OS Developments, which made it fully open source back in 2018. Development and maintenance is done by the team at RISC OS Open Ltd -- ROOL for short -- which offers downloads for a variety of current Arm hardware, such as the Titanium desktops. [...]
RISC OS Developments are still working on new functionality for the OS. Notably, it recently released a new TCP/IP stack, derived from OpenBSD. Right now, the main benefit is IPv6 support. A feature more significant to most users is still in development: Wi-Fi support. Also still under development, but available to paid backers, is a new RISC OS web browser, Iris. RISC OS does come with a choice of browsers -- NetSurf and Otter -- but the plan is that the new Iris browser will be a native app, with the RISC OS look and feel, but using the WebKit engine for better compatibility with the modern web. The main remaining limitation is SMP. As an OS from the 1980s, long before the 21st-century technology of mainstream multicore processors, RISC OS practically only supports a single CPU core. Various experimental efforts are under way to address this. One has got NetBSD running on another core, and another has the experimental Genode OS running alongside RISC OS. Another effort is working on adding SMP support into the RISC OS kernel itself.
BlockFi Receives $250 Million Credit Facility From FTX
Crypto lending platform BlockFi announced that it has
secured a $250 million revolving credit facility from FTX, BlockFi CEO Zac Prince said in a tweet on Tuesday, and the company subsequently
announced in a press release. CoinDesk reports:
Prince said the move "bolsters our balance sheet and platform strength." He added that "the proceeds of the credit facility are intended to be contractually subordinate to all client balances across all account types (BIA, BPY & loan collateral) and will be used as needed." This is not the first time FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried has stepped in to bail out a major crypto company impacted by the recent market downturn. Last week, crypto broker Voyager Digital (VOYG) secured a revolving line of credit with Bankman-Fried-founded quant trading shop Alameda Research.
Though it is now in the position of backstopping a broader market crash, FTX is reportedly one of the firms that liquidated Celsius -- the troubled decentralized crypto lending platform that was forced to halt all user withdraws last week. Celsius, one of BlockFi's competitors, reportedly ran out of funds to repay depositors due to a series of risky decentralized finance bets. In the press release, BlockFi said the credit facility is contingent on the execution of "definitive documents," which the two companies expect to be completed in "the coming days."
Eric Schmidt Urges US To Lean On TSMC, Samsung For Chip Security
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the Indian Express:
The US should do more to attract overseas chipmakers to build plants on its territory as a matter of national security, former Google chief Eric Schmidt wrote in an opinion piece published Monday. Pointing to China's accelerating investment in chip fabrication technology and capacity, Schmidt urged the US to reduce its dependence on Taiwan and South Korea for the most advanced semiconductors powering everything from smartphones to ballistic missiles and build out its own capabilities. Instead, it should be incentivizing national champions Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Samsung Electronics Co. to partner with US chip designers and build more on US soil, he said.
International relations scholar Graham Allison, who shares the byline on the Wall Street Journal article with Schmidt, previously warned that the US and China could be on a path to war that neither country wants. The two men set out policy recommendations for improving American competitiveness in the chipmaking race so as to avoid a drastic imbalance between the two superpowers. "If Beijing develops durable advantages across the semiconductor supply chain, it would generate breakthroughs in foundational technologies that the U.S. cannot match," they wrote. "The U.S. can't spend its way out of this predicament."
In addition to President Joe Biden's proposed $52 billion investment plan -- which is still under consideration by US legislators -- the US should lean into its strengths of research and development, manufacturing less-advanced but more widely used slower chips through the likes of Intel Corp. and GlobalFoundries Inc., and redouble its efforts to bring TSMC and Samsung on shore. Both Asian companies are constructing fabs in the US, but Schmidt and Allison's message is that more needs to be done to ensure long-term US prosperity. "America is on the verge of losing the chip competition," they said, urging that "the U.S. government mobilizes a national effort similar to the one that created the technologies that won World War II."
US Sanctions Help China Supercharge Its Chipmaking Industry
China's chip industry is growing faster than anywhere else in the world, after US sanctions on local champions from Huawei to Hikvision spurred appetite for home-grown components. From a report:
Nineteen of the world's 20 fastest-growing chip industry firms over the past four quarters, on average, hail from the world's No. 2 economy, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compared with just 8 at the same point last year. Those China-based suppliers of design software, processors and gear vital to chipmaking are expanding revenue at several times the likes of global leaders Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. or ASML Holding NV.
That supercharged growth underscores how tensions between Washington and Beijing are transforming the global $550 billion semiconductor industry -- a sector that plays an outsized role in everything from defense to the advent of future technologies like AI and autonomous cars. In 2020, the US began restricting sales of American technology to companies like Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. and Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, successfully containing their growth -- but also fueling a boom in Chinese chip-making and supply.
Wikimedia Enterprise Announces Google and Internet Archive as Its First Customers
Wikimedia Enterprise, a first-of-its-kind commercial product designed for companies that reuse and source Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects at a high volume, today
announced its first customers: multinational technology company Google and nonprofit digital library Internet Archive. Wikimedia blog:
Wikimedia Enterprise was recently launched by the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that operates Wikipedia, as an opt-in product. Starting today, it also offers a free trial account to new users who can self sign-up to better assess their needs with the product. As Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects continue to grow, knowledge from Wikimedia sites is increasingly being used to power other websites and products. Wikimedia Enterprise was designed to make it easier for these entities to package and share Wikimedia content at scale in ways that best suit their needs: from an educational company looking to integrate a wide variety of verified facts into their online curricula, to an artificial intelligence startup that needs access to a vast set of accurate data in order to train their systems. Wikimedia Enterprise provides a feed of real-time content updates on Wikimedia projects, guaranteed uptime, and other system requirements that extend beyond what is freely available in publicly-available APIs and data dumps.
Organizations and companies of any size can access Wikimedia Enterprise offerings with dedicated customer-support and Service Level Agreements, at a variable price based on their volume of use. Interested companies can now sign up on the website for a free trial account which offers 10,000 on-demand requests and unlimited access to a 30-day Snapshot. Google and the Wikimedia Foundation have worked together on a number of projects and initiatives to enhance knowledge distribution to the world. Content from Wikimedia projects helps power some of Google's features, including being one of several data sources that show up in its knowledge panels. Wikimedia Enterprise will help make the content sourcing process more efficient.
Shadowy Strava Users Spy on Israeli Military With Fake Routes in Bases
Unidentified operatives have been using the fitness tracking app Strava to
spy on members of the Israeli military, tracking their movements across secret bases around the country and potentially observing them as they travel the world on official business. From a report:
By placing fake running "segments" inside military bases, the operation -- the affiliation of which has not been uncovered -- was able to keep tabs on individuals who were exercising on the bases, even those who have applied the strongest possible account privacy settings. In one example seen by the Guardian, a user running on a top-secret base thought to have links to the Israeli nuclear programme could be tracked across other military bases and to a foreign country.
The surveillance campaign was discovered by the Israeli open-source intelligence outfit FakeReporter. The group's executive director, Achiya Schatz, said: "We contacted the Israeli security forces as soon as we became aware of this security breach. After receiving approval from the security forces to proceed, FakeReporter contacted Strava, and they formed a senior team to address the issue." Strava's tracking tools are designed to allow anyone to define and compete over "segments," short sections of a run or bike ride that may be regularly raced over, like a long uphill climb on a popular cycling route or a single circuit of a park. Users can define a segment after uploading it from the Strava app, but can also upload GPS recordings from other products or services.
Heavy Industries in Australia's Regions Could Cut Emissions by 80% and Create a Jobs Bonanza, Report Says
The regional powerhouses of Australia's industrial economy could
slash their greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80% and become centres for multibillion-dollar investments in renewable energy, according to a report backed by some of the country's biggest companies. From a report:
Bringing down emissions from producing iron, steel, aluminium, chemicals and liquefied natural gas is seen as one of the most challenging parts of Australia's efforts to reach net zero. But the report from the Australian Industry Energy Transitions Initiative (ETI), a partnership between heavy industry and experts working on decarbonisation, says the transition is possible using a range of known technologies, and would bring a jobs bonanza. By introducing a range of technologies along the supply chain, most of them proven and some already commercially available, the report says greenhouse gas emissions could be cut annually by 69.5m tonnes of CO2-equivalent -- about 14% of Australia's current total emissions.
DocuSign CEO Dan Springer Steps Down Following Firm Losing Over 60% of Its Value Year To Date
DocuSign CEO Dan Springer is stepping down, the company announced Tuesday. The decision comes after the e-signature software maker
lost more than 60% of its value year to date. From a report:
The company didn't provide a reason for his departure but said Springer "has agreed to step aside," effective immediately. Chairman of the Board Maggie Wilderotter will serve as interim CEO as the company begins its search for the next executive. Shares were up about 1% when markets opened. Springer took on the role of chief executive in 2017 and took the company public in 2018. DocuSign was able to capitalize on the Covid-19 pandemic as more consumers shifted to online transactions and deals. But its business has been slowing in recent quarters, especially as it faces tough comparisons to its dramatic growth in 2020 and early 2021. The deteriorating macro environment has also impacted the company. Shares were off 80% from their 52-week high as of Friday's close.
Microsoft, Facebook, and Others Are Founding a Metaverse Open Standards Group
Microsoft, Epic Games, Meta, and 33 other companies and organizations have
formed a standards group for "metaverse" tech. The Metaverse Standards Forum is supposed to foster open, interoperable standards for augmented and virtual reality, geospatial, and 3D tech. From a report:
According to a press release, the Metaverse Standards Forum will focus on "pragmatic, action-based projects" like hackathons and prototyping tools for supporting common standards. It's also interested in developing "consistent terminology" for the space -- where many players can't even agree on what a "metaverse" is. In addition to the companies above, the group's founding members include major pre-metaverse entities like the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Nvidia, Qualcomm, Sony Interactive Entertainment, and Unity, in addition to newer ones like Lamina1, a blockchain payments startup co-founded by Snow Crash author Neal Stephenson.
Google Maps Restrictions Probed By German Antitrust Watchdog
Alphabet's Google is
under investigation by Germany's antitrust watchdog amid concerns over potentially illegal terms for the use of its maps platform. From a report:
The Federal Cartel Office said Tuesday it opened a formal probe after initial findings suggest that the US giant is limiting options to use alternative map providers when app developers and other businesses seek to combine their offerings with maps. The regulator is also looking at the terms for Google's Automotive Services, according to the statement. Officials are concerned Google limits the option to embed position data from Google Maps, Street View or the search function on maps of other providers, Andreas Mundt, the agency's president said. "We will check whether Google could extent its predominance in certain map services via this practice," Mundt said.
Microsoft Plans To Eliminate Face Analysis Tools in Push for 'Responsible AI'
For years, activists and academics have been raising concerns that facial analysis software that claims to be able to identify a person's age, gender and emotional state can be biased, unreliable or invasive -- and shouldn't be sold. From a report:
Acknowledging some of those criticisms, Microsoft said on Tuesday that it planned to remove those features from its artificial intelligence service for detecting, analyzing and recognizing faces. They will stop being available to new users this week, and will be phased out for existing users within the year. The changes are part of a push by Microsoft for tighter controls of its artificial intelligence products. After a two-year review, a team at Microsoft has developed a "Responsible AI Standard," a 27-page document that sets out requirements for A.I. systems to ensure they are not going to have a harmful impact on society.
The requirements include ensuring that systems provide "valid solutions for the problems they are designed to solve" and "a similar quality of service for identified demographic groups, including marginalized groups." Before they are released, technologies that would be used to make important decisions about a person's access to employment, education, health care, financial services or a life opportunity are subject to a review by a team led by Natasha Crampton, Microsoft's chief responsible A.I. officer.
South Korea Launches Satellite With Its Own Rocket for the First Time
South Korea said it successfully launched
a small but working satellite into orbit using its first homemade rocket on Tuesday, bringing the country closer to its dream of becoming a new player in the space industry and deploying its own spy satellites to better monitor North Korea. From a report:
The three-stage Nuri rocket, built by the government's Korea Aerospace Research Institute together with hundreds of local companies, blasted off from the Naro Space Center in Goheung on the southwestern tip of South Korea at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Seventy minutes after the liftoff, South Korea announced that Nuri had succeeded in its mission of thrusting a 357-pound working satellite, as well as a 1.3-ton dummy satellite, into orbit 435 miles above the Earth.
Amazon Extends Its Quantum Efforts With a Focus on Networking
Amazon today announced a new effort in bringing quantum computing to its cloud --
at least in the long term. The company today launched the AWS Center for Quantum Computing, a new research effort that aims to push forward the science and engineering of networking quantum computers together, both for building more powerful, multi-processor networks for computation and for creating secure quantum communication networks. From a report:
In recent years, Amazon and its AWS cloud computing unit made a number of major investments in quantum computing. With Amazon Braket, the company offers developers access to quantum computers from the likes of IonQ, Oxford Quantum Circuits, Rigetti and D-Wave, as well as other software tools and simulators. In addition to that, the company is also already running two more research-centric efforts: the AWS Center for Quantum Computing in Pasadena, California, which focuses on basic science like building better qubits and error correction algorithms, and the Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab, which puts an emphasis on helping enterprises prepare for the future of quantum computing. Basically, while Braket and the Quantum Solutions Lab focus on near-term practical solutions, the Center for Quantum Computing and now the Center for Quantum Networking focus on long-term research efforts.
Sony Could Have a Trio of New Gaming Headsets on the Way
Sony might be ready to announce
a new lineup of gaming headsets, according to a report from 91Mobiles based on information provided by OnLeaks. From a report:
Rather than being specifically PlayStation-branded, like Sony's Pulse headset, the three headsets will apparently be part of a new gaming hardware brand from Sony called "Inzone," which could also include a pair of gaming displays. Leaked images show the three so-called H-series headsets with a similar white color scheme to the existing Pulse headset. The H3 is wired, and has a USB-C port with a physical volume dial. There's a button marked "NC/AMB" shown in renders of the H3, which suggests it might support noise cancellation and have an ambient audio mode to allow players to hear what's going on around them.
Ex-Amazon Employee Convicted Over Data Breach of 100 Million CapitalOne Customers
Paige Thompson, a former Amazon employee accused of stealing the personal information of 100 million customers by breaching banking giant CapitalOne in 2019, has been
found guilty by a Seattle jury on charges of wire fraud and computer hacking. From a report:
Thompson, 36, was accused of using her knowledge as a software engineer working in the retail giant's cloud division, Amazon Web Services, to identify cloud storage servers that were allegedly misconfigured to gain access to the cloud stored data used by CapitalOne. That included names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, email addresses and phone numbers, and other sensitive financial information, such as credit scores, limits and balances. Some one million Canadians were also affected by the CapitalOne breach. Thompson also accessed the cloud stored data of more than 30 other companies, according to a superseding indictment filed by the Justice Department almost two years after Thompson was first charged, which reportedly included Vodafone, Ford, Michigan State University and the Ohio Department of Transportation.
58% of US Adults Say They Use Their Smartphone 'Too Much'
The percentage of U.S. adults saying they use their smartphone "too much" has increased markedly in recent years,
rising from 39% when Gallup last asked this in 2015 to 58% today. Gallup News reports:
This sentiment was strongly age-contingent in 2015 and remains so now; however, all age groups have become more likely to express this concern. Also, this belief is pervasive not only among 20-somethings; smartphone users aged 30 to 49 (74%) are nearly as likely as those 18 to 29 (81%) to say they are on their phone too much. This contrasts with 47% of those 50 to 64 and 30% of those 65 and older. As in 2015, there is little difference by gender in whether adults think they overuse their smartphone, with 60% of women and 56% of men now saying this.
The latest findings are from a self-administered web survey of over 30,000 U.S. adults conducted in January and February of this year, using the probability-based Gallup Panel. Nearly all adults who took the poll, 97%, report they have a smartphone, up from 81% in the 2015 survey. Even as Americans believe they use their smartphone too much, nearly two-thirds think their smartphone has made their life better -- 21% say it has made their life "a lot" better and 44% "a little" better. This has declined slightly from the 72% perceiving a net benefit in 2015. Only 12% say smartphones have made their life worse to any degree, although this is double the rate in 2015.
Scientists Find Remains of Cannibalized Baby Planets In Jupiter's Cloud-Covered Belly
Jupiter's innards are
full of the remains of baby planets that the gas giant gobbled up as it expanded to become the behemoth we see today, scientists have found. The findings come from the first clear view of the chemistry beneath the planet's cloudy outer atmosphere. Space.com reports:
In the new study, researchers were finally able to peer past Jupiter's obscuring cloud cover using gravitational data collected by NASA's Juno space probe. This data enabled the team to map out the rocky material at the core of the giant planet, which revealed a surprisingly high abundance of heavy elements. The chemical make-up suggests Jupiter devoured baby planets, or planetesimals, to fuel its expansive growth. [...] [T]he researchers built computer models of Jupiter's innards by combining data, which was predominantly collected by Juno, as well as some data from its predecessor Galileo. The probes measured the planet's gravitational field at different points around its orbit. The data showed that rocky material accreted by Jupiter has a high concentration of heavy elements, which form dense solids and, therefore, have a stronger gravitational effect than the gaseous atmosphere. This data enabled the team to map out slight variations in the planet's gravity, which helped them to see where the rocky material is located within the planet. The researcher's models revealed that there is an equivalent of between 11 and 30 Earth masses of heavy elements within Jupiter (3% to 9% of Jupiter's mass), which is much more than expected.
The new models point to a planetesimal-gobbling origin for Jupiter because the pebble-accretion theory cannot explain such a high concentration of heavy elements. If Jupiter had initially formed from pebbles, the eventual onset of the gas accretion process, once the planet was large enough, would have immediately ended the rocky accretion stage. This is because the growing layer of gas would have created a pressure barrier that stopped additional pebbles from being pulled inside the planet. This curtailed rocky accretion phase would likely have given Jupiter a greatly reduced heavy metal abundance, or metallicity, than what the researchers calculated. However, planetesimals could have glommed onto Jupiter's core even after the gas accretion phase had begun; that's because the gravitational pull on the rocks would have been greater than the pressure exerted by the gas. This simultaneous accretion of rocky material and gas proposed by the planetesimal theory is the only explanation for the high levels of heavy elements within Jupiter, the researchers said.
The study also revealed another interesting finding: Jupiter's insides do not mix well into its upper atmosphere, which goes against what scientists had previously expected. The new model of Jupiter's insides shows that the heavy elements the planet has absorbed have remained largely close to its core and the lower atmosphere. Researchers had assumed that convection mixed up Jupiter's atmosphere, so that hotter gas near the planet's core would rise to the outer atmosphere before cooling and falling back down; if this were the case, the heavy elements would be more evenly mixed throughout the atmosphere. However, it is possible that certain regions of Jupiter may have a small convection effect, and more research is needed to determine exactly what is going on inside the gas giant's atmosphere. The researchers' findings could also change the origin stories for other planets in the solar system. The study was
published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.