Asteroid Bennu may have been home to ancient water flows

Perhaps as a prelude to this attempt, researchers just published a number of new studies about the geochemistry of Bennu today in the journals Science and Science Advances, providing some of the biggest revelations to date. Here are the most compelling.

Bennu’s watery history

In the first Science study, scientists used high-resolution images taken by OSIRIS-Rex, as well as spectroscopy (which involves analyzing electromagnetic waves emitted from Bennu to determine its chemistry), to better understand the composition and history of the asteroid’s Nightingale crater region, where the sample will be collected.

They found that boulders in this area showed bright veins, narrow in width but about a meter in length, similar to what’s found in other carbonaceous chondritic meteorites that have landed on Earth. In those cases, the veins indicate that the rock had once interacted with flowing water. 

So naturally, for Bennu, “the veins suggest that water flowed through

Read More

Succeed in tough times: Make a digital pivot

After quickly upgrading his remote-access infrastructure, Yañez sent all 1,000 of his IT staffers home, where they have been working ever since. That remote IT group has been able to support Walmart’s massive operations in the region—nearly 2,400 stores, 42,000 providers and vendors in the supply chain, and 200,000 employees.

This content was produced by Insights, the custom content arm of MIT Technology Review. It was not written by MIT Technology Review’s editorial staff.

At the same time, Walmart accelerated its digital transformation efforts, creating an omnichannel buying experience for its customers. Now they can shop online and have products delivered, shop online and pick up at the store, shop at the store and pick up items ordered previously, or any combination thereof.

“Everything should be easier, independent of the channel, the situation, the location. That’s the intention, and that was the mission three or four years ago,” says Yañez.

Read More

Explainer: What “poll watching” really means

And then there is the potential for self-appointed poll watchers to cause trouble. Trump’s messages are at odds with how the law actually works, and could lead to questionable behavior from people who don’t know what an official poll watcher really does.

Dismissing the criticism, the Trump campaign’s deputy national press secretary, Thea McDonald, told me that “President Trump’s volunteer poll watchers will be trained to ensure all rules are applied equally, all valid ballots are counted, and all Democrat rule-breaking is called out.”

Yet Trump’s own Homeland Security analysts assessed white supremacists as the “most persistent and lethal threat in the homeland through 2021” and warned that “open-air, publicly accessible parts of physical election infrastructure” like polling places could be “flash points for potential violence.”

Are there protections?

For all the rising rhetoric, the law is clear, and voters should know they are protected from this kind of activity,

Read More

Covid-19 has led to a worrisome uptick in the use of electronic ankle monitors

As covid-19 began to spread earlier this year, it soon became clear that prisons and jails are particularly susceptible to outbreaks. In response, criminal justice systems around the world started looking for alternatives to incarceration. 

Many turned to electronic ankle monitors as a solution. They used this technology to quickly relocate people from secure custody to the relative safety of their homes, and placed them under continuous electronic supervision. At the same time, courts in the US and Australia began to experiment with using ankle monitors for an entirely different purpose—enforcing quarantine orders.

The pandemic has subtly normalized the expanded use of ankle monitors around the world. This is a worrisome trend that we shouldn’t allow to go unexamined. Previous research suggests that ankle monitors do not conclusively reduce recidivism, and the technology has no history as a tool for enforcing compliance with public health orders. In fact, frequent and

Read More

Winter will make the pandemic worse. Here’s what you need to know.

As we head into the Northern Hemisphere fall with covid-19 still raging in the US and a number of other parts of the world, two data points provide cause for extra concern.

One is that the seasonal flu—a respiratory viral infection like covid-19—is much more active in the winter. Last year in the US, there were 40 times as many flu cases in the fall and winter months as in the previous spring and summer. Historically, those cooler months see tens of times as many seasonal flu infections in temperate regions. (In tropical regions, the flu tends to peak during the rainy season, though not as strongly.)

The other is that the death toll from the 1918 influenza outbreak—the only pandemic to have killed more Americans than this one so far, and one of the deadliest in global history—was five times as high in the US during the late fall

Read More

A GPT-3 bot posted comments on Reddit for a week and no one noticed

Busted: A bot powered by OpenAI’s powerful GPT-3 language model has been unmasked after a week of posting comments on Reddit. Under the username /u/thegentlemetre, the bot was interacting with people on /r/AskReddit, a popular forum for general chat with 30 million users. It was posting in bursts of roughly once a minute.

Fooled ya—again: It’s not the first time GPT-3 has fooled people into thinking what it writes comes from a human. In August a college student published a blog post that hit the top spot on Hacker News and led a handful of people to subscribe. And GPT-3 has been used to compose several articles about itself, though these typically end with a human-written disclaimer. But the bot presented as a regular Redditor and published hundreds of comments before being spotted.

Detective work: The bot’s prodigious posting caught the attention of Philip Winston, who describes on his blog

Read More

A Great Start To The Franchise

A live-service game can be a hard thing to achieve especially if you have to deal with beloved characters from the Marvel comics portfolio. When we first heard about Marvel’s Avengers we weren’t too impressed simply because it looked nothing like the MCU. However, in hindsight, we may have been wrong as the game may have just saved itself from further scrutiny by doing its own thing. We’ve been playing the full game for almost an entire week and we were pleasantly surprised by the game as the PS4 beta felt quite underwhelming. 

© Crystal Dynamics

The game lets you play as all of your favourite MCU characters i.e. Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, and Black Widow, however, do not expect them to look, act or sound like their movie counterparts. Crystal Dynamics adopted a third-person melee combat system that works in its favour most of the time. We

Read More

Review: Simrad NSO EVO3S

Multifunction displays and marinized computers are fast at first, but layers of software and firmware updates can deposit speed-sucking e-sediment, and newly networked equipment can further tax aging processors. Eventually, the best option for this technology involves hitting the refresh button.

a screen shot of a computer: Benefits of Simrad’s NSO Evo3S are speed and the ability to update software and firmware down the road.

© Provided by Yachting
Benefits of Simrad’s NSO Evo3S are speed and the ability to update software and firmware down the road.

If this sounds like your helm, and if you have Simrad equipment, then the NSO Evo3S is worth a look.


Load Error

Simrad’s NSO Evo3S display (read: a marinized display with a built-in black-box processor) shares a familiar moniker that adds a significantly faster, six-core processor to its predecessor model. The updates make the NSO Evo3S operating system, application-specific software and networked hardware perform better, while delivering future-proofing for upcoming software updates and hardware.

Simrad’s older-generation NSO Evo3 display and the new flagship NSO Evo3S display share

Read More

Bigger not always better for laptops

Avita Pura laptop


When it comes to laptops, bigger isn’t always better, and that goes for specs as well as physical size.

Buying a top end laptop for occasional, non-taxing use seems a little bit of overkill, spending money that could be used elsewhere. The Avita Pura laptop is a budget-friendly device that will handle schoolwork or basic tasks without trouble.

The Ryzen 3 powered device comes with 4GB of RAM, a 14-inch screen and a solid state drive, wrapped up in a brushed metal effect case. Pitched at the Chromebook end of the market, the Pura Avita has Windows 10, but it comes with S mode, which only allows you to install apps from the Microsoft Store rather than give you free reign with anything you can find online.

While that may seem restrictive, it can also be a good thing for parents who want to keep a

Read More

ProLabs Wins 2020 Broadband Technology Report (BTR) Diamond Technology Review Awards for its Optical Monitoring Platform

ProLabs’ OMP solutions allow network operators to proactively monitor DWDM line systems in their access network, whether utilized for distributed access architectures (DAA) or dedicated fiber business services. The solution combines two complementary monitoring methods, an optical channel monitor and an optical time domain reflectometer (OTDR) facility that can be applied to each fiber. The two devices are combined and is shared up to 48-fibers egressing a given facility – providing a cost-effective, multi-layer fiber monitoring solution.

“With its advanced monitoring and automation – the network operator can drastically reduce mean time to repair (MTTR) by pinpointing the failure (hardware or plant) as well as automatically trigger a remote OTDR operation that would normally involve a truck roll to the site,” said Jon Eikel, ProLabs Chief Strategy Officer. “The improvement in customer experience, elimination of the initial troubleshooting truck roll, and fault isolation each provide a critical step in

Read More