Saturday, October 23

Science

A Mathematician Answers a 150-Year-Old Chess Problem
Science

A Mathematician Answers a 150-Year-Old Chess Problem

If you have a few chess sets at home, try the following exercise: Arrange eight queens on a board so that none of them are attacking each other. If you succeed once, can you find a second arrangement? A third? How many are there?This challenge is over 150 years old. It is the earliest version of a mathematical question called the n-queens problem whose solution Michael Simkin, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Center of Mathematical Sciences and Applications, zeroed in on in a paper posted in July. Instead of placing eight queens on a standard 8-by-8 chessboard (where there are 92 different configurations that work), the problem asks how many ways there are to place n queens on an n-by-n board. This could be 23 queens on a 23-by-23 board—or 1,000 on a 1,000-by-1,000 board, o...
A shortage of silicon metal, sparked by China cutting output, has sent prices up 300% in less than two months, impacting production of chips, glass, and more (Bloomberg)
Science

A shortage of silicon metal, sparked by China cutting output, has sent prices up 300% in less than two months, impacting production of chips, glass, and more (Bloomberg)

Bloomberg: A shortage of silicon metal, sparked by China cutting output, has sent prices up 300% in less than two months, impacting production of chips, glass, and more  —  - Silicon metal output disrupted amid electricity curbs in China  — Chemicals firms declare force majeure on silicone products Source link
Analysis: Apple's operating profits from games in FY 2019 totaled $8.5B, $2B more than the combined profits of Sony, Activision, Nintendo, and Microsoft (Tim Higgins/Wall Street Journal)
Science

Analysis: Apple's operating profits from games in FY 2019 totaled $8.5B, $2B more than the combined profits of Sony, Activision, Nintendo, and Microsoft (Tim Higgins/Wall Street Journal)

Tim Higgins / Wall Street Journal: Analysis: Apple's operating profits from games in FY 2019 totaled $8.5B, $2B more than the combined profits of Sony, Activision, Nintendo, and Microsoft  —  CEO Tim Cook quietly turned the iPhone company into a superpower in the videogame business.  Now he's fighting rivals in a multiplayer universe. Source link
China releases its first set of guidelines on AI ethics, emphasizing user rights and data control, that align with Beijing's efforts to crack down on Big Tech (Xinmei Shen/South China Morning Post)
Science

China releases its first set of guidelines on AI ethics, emphasizing user rights and data control, that align with Beijing's efforts to crack down on Big Tech (Xinmei Shen/South China Morning Post)

Xinmei Shen / South China Morning Post: China releases its first set of guidelines on AI ethics, emphasizing user rights and data control, that align with Beijing's efforts to crack down on Big Tech  —  China released the country's first set of guidelines on AI ethics, emphasising user rights and data control The guidelines are part … Source link
A look at Apple's TV+ progress and strategy as it navigates a crowded streaming video market (Brandon Katz/Observer)
Science

A look at Apple's TV+ progress and strategy as it navigates a crowded streaming video market (Brandon Katz/Observer)

Brandon Katz / Observer: A look at Apple's TV+ progress and strategy as it navigates a crowded streaming video market  —  Why Apple TV+ isn't necessarily competing with Netflix.  —  Nearly two years after launching Apple TV+ in November of 2019, Apple has remained notoriously secretive about its fledgling streaming service. Source link
Potential discovery of a circumtriple planet has implications for bolstering our understanding of planet formation — ScienceDaily
Science

Potential discovery of a circumtriple planet has implications for bolstering our understanding of planet formation — ScienceDaily

In a distant star system -- a mere 1,300 light years away from Earth -- UNLV researchers and colleagues may have identified the first known planet to orbit three stars. Unlike our solar system, which consists of a solitary star, it is believed that half of all star systems, like GW Ori where astronomers observed the novel phenomenon, consist of two or more stars that are gravitationally bound to each other. But no planet orbiting three stars -- a circumptriple orbit -- has ever been discovered. Perhaps until now. Takeaways Using observations from the powerful Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope, UNLV astronomers analyzed the three observed dust rings around the three stars, which are critical to forming planets. But they found a substantial, yet puzzling, gap i...
It’s the first direct observation of a hydroxyl-hydronium complex – important for a wide range of chemical and biological processes from the tails of comets to cancer treatment — ScienceDaily
Science

It’s the first direct observation of a hydroxyl-hydronium complex – important for a wide range of chemical and biological processes from the tails of comets to cancer treatment — ScienceDaily

Researchers at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have uncovered a key step in the ionization of liquid water using the lab's high-speed "electron camera," MeV-UED. This reaction is of fundamental significance to a wide range of fields, including nuclear engineering, space travel, cancer treatment and environmental remediation. Their results were published in Science today. When high-energy radiation hits a water molecule, it triggers a series of ultrafast reactions. First, it kicks out an electron, leaving behind a positively charged water molecule. Within a fraction of a trillionth of a second, this water molecule gives up a proton to another water molecule. This leads to the creation of a hydroxyl radical (OH) -- which can damage virtually any macromolecu...
Novel design of brain chip implant allows for measuring neuronal activity while simultaneously delivering drugs to the implant site — ScienceDaily
Science

Novel design of brain chip implant allows for measuring neuronal activity while simultaneously delivering drugs to the implant site — ScienceDaily

Being able to measure the electrical activity of the brain has helped us gain a much better understanding of the brain's processes, functions, and diseases over the past decades. So far, much of this activity has been measured via electrodes placed on the scalp (through electroencephalography (EEG)); however, being able to acquire signals directly from inside the brain itself (through neural interfacing devices) during daily life activities could take neuroscience and neuromedicine to completely new levels. A major setback to this plan is that, unfortunately, implementing neural interfaces has proven to be remarkably challenging. The materials used in the minuscule electrodes that make contact with the neurons, as well as those of all connectors, should be flexible yet durable enough to...
TSMC chairman Mark Liu on US-China tensions, the push for semiconductor localization in the US, which he says will not improve supply chain resilience, and more (Charlie Campbell/TIME)
Science

TSMC chairman Mark Liu on US-China tensions, the push for semiconductor localization in the US, which he says will not improve supply chain resilience, and more (Charlie Campbell/TIME)

Charlie Campbell / TIME: TSMC chairman Mark Liu on US-China tensions, the push for semiconductor localization in the US, which he says will not improve supply chain resilience, and more  —  On the northwest coast of Taiwan, nestled between mudflats teeming with fiddler crabs and sweet-scented persimmon orchards … Source link
In New Zealand, People (and Moths) Rediscover Dark Skies
Science

In New Zealand, People (and Moths) Rediscover Dark Skies

This story originally appeared on Atlas Obscura and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration.Mike Bacchus remembers the man only as “the Texan.” A few years back, the Texan, well into his seventies, was a guest at New Zealand’s Lakestone Lodge, which Bacchus and his family own. The man had made his way from Texas to the Mackenzie region of New Zealand’s South Island for the landscapes, to see vivid swathes of violet lupins set against blue glacial lakes and snowy peaks rising beyond golden tussocked hills. He hadn’t realized one of the most glorious sights in Mackenzie is revealed after sunset. In a region with some of the darkest night skies in the world, the vast sweep of the Milky Way dwarfs even the towering summit of nearby Aoraki, or Mount Cook.One evening, Bacchus invited his gu...