Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Demand for Solar Panels Expected to Drop as Import Duties are Levied

New tarrifs on solar panels are among the duties imposed by the current U.S. administration.

As someone noted,

The American manufacturers aren't going to come in and sell them at the lower price. All that's being done is lower the demand after raising the prices. This is going to put a lot more people who were installing the panels out of work than the number of people who ever going to be employed making them. There are 10,000s people in the US working to install panels and that work can't be outsourced to any other country. Who cares where the panels come from? The cheaper they are, the more projects (residential and industrial) will become viable and started meaning more people employed.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Blockchain is More Signifcant than Bitcoin

Tha math bitcoin solved a paradoxical problem: a currency with no regulator, that nonetheless can’t be counterfeited. Now a similar mix of math and code promises to pull off another seemingly magical feat by allowing anyone to share their data with the cloud and nonetheless keep it entirely private. At MIT, “homomorphic” encryption is a way to encrypt data such that it can be shared with a third party and used in computations without it ever being decrypted. That mathematical trick—which would allow untrusted computers to accurately run computations on sensitive data without putting the data at risk of hacker breaches or surveillance—has only become more urgent in an age when millions of users constantly share their secrets with cloud services ranging from Amazon and Dropbox to Google and Facebook. Now, with bitcoin's tricks in their arsenal, Enigma's creators say they can now pull off computations on encrypted data more efficiently than ever.

Bitcoin itself Is the vanguard of a predecessor technology to the real, lasting innovation: the blockchain — the peer-to-peer ledger system that records cryptocurrency transactions and allows them to operate without a central authority. A German nonprofit, the IOTA Foundation announced that it was teaming up with several major technology firms to develop a “decentralized data marketplace” utilizing its own cryptocurrency, which works without blockchain technology. Though IOTA tokens can be used like any other cryptocurrency, the protocol was designed specifically for use on connected devices.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

How to cope with the coming robot revolution? More education, universal basic income, and other strategies could help.

... Bill Gates recently suggested yet another ethical red flag: that robots themselves may have to be taxed to make up for lost levies on income from employees. Others have suggested as robots take on more tasks, there could be a growing case for universal basic income, where everyone receives state benefits.

In addition, recent studies have suggested artificial intelligence can develop sexist and racist tendencies. Researchers developed a word-embedding factual association test to determine how strongly words are associated with other words, and then compare the strength of those associations to facts in the real world. "For example, if a computer searching résumés for computer programmers associates “programmer” with men, mens’ résumés will pop to the top... Instead of debiasing embeddings, essentially throwing away information, she prefers adding an extra layer of human or computer judgment to decide how or whether to act on such biases. In the case of hiring programmers, you might decide to set gender quotas...."

Read more hear...

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Changes Are Coming to the Internet (under the hood)

With limits to core Internet protocol performance and end-user perceived performance (latency), HTTP/2 addresses some of these limits with multiplexing multiple requests in one TCP connection. This avoids the need to queue requests on the client without blocking each other and supported by all major browsers and web servers.

Also, the ability to evolve Internet protocols has become problematic. HTTP proxies that tried to compress responses made it more difficult to deploy new compression techniques. TCP optimization made it more difficult to deploy improvements to TCP.

And there is a move towards more encryption on the Internet. A new version of TLS has a greatly reworked handshake that allows application data to flow from the start, and relies upon ephemeral key exchange, ruling out static keys that can be compromised.

Read more about the details here...

Friday, December 8, 2017

Meteoric Iron was the Source of Bronze Age Weapons and More

It appears iron from meteorites was used widely to make knives and other artifacts. Previous studies had found specific Bronze Age objects to be made from meteoric metal – such as a dagger buried with King Tutankhamun. This research addresses the question of just how widespread the practice was.

Bronze was the metal of choice for tools, weapons, and jewelry during the Bronze Age – hence the era's name – which began around 3300 BCE. The alloy was durable and easily available, made by smelting copper and mixing it with tin and other metals.