23 Feb 2024

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Mercedes-Benz Backs Off Plan To Only Sell EVs By 2030

In its fourth quarter earnings statement on Thursday, Mercedes-Benz said it is backing off its plan to only sell electric vehicles after 2030. Instead, the company said it "only expects 50 percent of its sales to be all-electric -- a significant drop from the once rosier outlook," reports The Verge. "Gas and hybrid vehicles will remain a part of the company's future for years to come." From the report: "Customers and market conditions will set the pace of the transformation," Mercedes said in its report. "The company plans to be in a position to cater to different customer needs, whether it's an all-electric drivetrain or an electrified combustion engine, until well into the 2030s." Not even in Europe, where EV sales growth outpaces North America's, does Mercedes expect to transition to EV-only sales anytime soon, the company's CEO Ola Kallenius told Reuters. "It's not going to be 100% in 2030, obviously... from the whole European market, but probably from the Mercedes side as well," he said. In 2021, Mercedes was a lot more bullish about plug-in powertrains, saying that by 2030 it would only sell EVs and completely phase out gas-powered vehicles.

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23 Feb 2024 10:00am GMT

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IBM begins work on Power11 enablement for upcoming Linux 6.9

The first "Power11" patches were queued today into the PowerPC's "next" Git branch ahead of the upcoming Linux 6.9 kernel cycle. The first of many IBM Power11 processor/platform enablement patches are beginning to flow out for the Linux kernel for enabling the next-generation Power processors. This shouldn't be too surprising given that a few months ago IBM began posting "PowerPC Future" patches for the GCC compiler with speculating at the time it was for Power11 just as IBM previously called their "future" CPU target in GCC for Power10 prior to those processors officially debuting. ↫ Michael Larabel I really hope IBM learned from the POWER10 fiasco and will make sure POWER11 is properly and fully open again, because POWER9's openness made it unique among the other options out there. Without it, there's really no reason for an enthusiast community to developer around POWER11 as it did around POWER9, and that would be a shame. Again.

23 Feb 2024 8:28am GMT

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Switzerland Calls On UN To Explore Possibility of Solar Geoengineering

Switzerland is advocating for a United Nations expert group to explore the merits of solar geoengineering. The proposal seeks to ensure multilateral oversight of solar radiation modification (SRM) research, amidst concerns over its potential implications for food supply, biodiversity, and global inequalities. The Guardian reports: The Swiss proposal, submitted to the United Nations environment assembly that begins next week in Nairobi, focuses on solar radiation modification (SRM). This is a technique that aims to mimic the effect of a large volcanic eruption by filling the atmosphere with sulphur dioxide particles that reflect part of the sun's heat and light back into space. Supporters of the proposal, including the United Nations environment program (UNEP), argue that research is necessary to ensure multilateral oversight of emerging planet-altering technologies, which might otherwise be developed and tested in isolation by powerful governments or billionaire individuals. Critics, however, argue that such a discussion would threaten the current de-facto ban on geoengineering, and lead down a "slippery slope" towards legitimization, mainstreaming and eventual deployment. Felix Wertli, the Swiss ambassador for the environment, said his country's goal in submitting the proposal was to ensure all governments and relevant stakeholders "are informed about SRM technologies, in particular about possible risks and cross-border effects." He said the intention was not to promote or enable solar geoengineering but to inform governments, especially those in developing countries, about what is happening. The executive director of the UNEP, Inger Andersen, stressed the importance of "a global conversation on SRM" in her opening address to delegates at a preliminary gathering in Nairobi. She and her colleagues emphasized the move was a precautionary one rather than an endorsement of the technology.

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23 Feb 2024 7:00am GMT

Facial-Recognition System Passes Test On Michelangelo's David

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Facial recognition is a common feature for unlocking smartphones and gaming systems, among other uses. But the technology currently relies upon bulky projectors and lenses, hindering its broader application. Scientists have now developed a new facial recognition system that employs flatter, simpler optics that also require less energy, according to a recent paper published in the journal Nano Letters. The team tested their prototype system with a 3D replica of Michelangelo's famous David sculpture and found it recognized the face as well as existing smartphone facial recognition can. [...] Wen-Chen Hsu, of National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University and the Hon Hai Research Institute in Taiwan, and colleagues turned to ultrathin optical components known as metasurfaces for a potential solution. These metasurfaces can replace bulkier components for modulating light and have proven popular for depth sensors, endoscopes, tomography. and augmented reality systems, among other emerging applications. Hsu et al. built their own depth-sensing facial recognition system incorporating a metasurface hologram in place of the diffractive optical element. They replaced the standard vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) with a photonic crystal surface-emitting laser (PCSEL). (The structure of photonic crystals is the mechanism behind the bright iridescent colors in butterfly wings or beetle shells.) The PCSEL can generate its own highly collimated light beam, so there was no need for the bulky light guide or collimation lenses used in VCSEL-based dot projector systems. The team tested their new system on a replica bust of David, and it worked as well as existing smartphone facial recognition, based on comparing the infrared dot patterns to online photos of the statue. They found that their system generated nearly one and a half times more infrared dots (some 45,700) than the standard commercial technology from a device that is 233 times smaller in terms of surface area than the standard dot projector. "It is a compact and cost-effective system, that can be integrated into a single chip using the flip-chip process of PCSEL," the authors wrote. Additionally, "The metasurface enables the generation of customizable and versatile light patterns, expanding the system's applicability." It's more energy-efficient to boot.

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23 Feb 2024 3:30am GMT

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A little US company makes history by landing on the Moon

"We're not dead yet."

23 Feb 2024 1:23am GMT

22 Feb 2024

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Jeff Bezos’ New Glenn rocket finally makes an appearance on the launch pad

Blue Origin plans a tanking test at Cape Canaveral, then a hotfire on the launch pad.

22 Feb 2024 11:59pm GMT

Ransomware associated with LockBit still spreading 2 days after server takedown

LockBit's extensive reach is making complete erasure hard.

22 Feb 2024 10:28pm GMT

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Intel will make chips for Microsoft

US chip company Intel will make high-end semiconductors for Microsoft, the companies announced, as it seeks to compete with TSMC and Samsung to supply the next generation of silicon used in artificial intelligence for customers around the world. Chief executive Pat Gelsinger said at a company event on Wednesday that Intel is set to "rebuild Western manufacturing at scale," buoyed by geopolitical concerns in Washington about the need to bring leading-edge manufacturing back to the US. ↫ Michael Acton Having our entire advanced chip industry built atop one Dutch company and one company on an island China would love to invade is not exactly the recipe for a stable supply chain. I think it's a great idea to build capacity in the US and Europe, and if Intel's the one to do it - with lavish government funding, I might add - then so be it. We'd all love for it to be more diverse than that, but the sad reality is that building advanced chip factories is really hard and really expensive, and very few companies have both the knowledge and money to do so.

22 Feb 2024 7:14pm GMT

“Why can’t I trigger a manual blue screen crash by injecting the magic key sequence?”

A customer was developing an automated test that required the system to suffer a blue screen crash. They configured their test systems to crash when the ScrollLock key is pressed twice while holding the Ctrl key, and they wrote a simple program that ran as administrator and injected the appropriate keystrokes. But no crash occurred. What did they do wrong? ↫ Raymond Chen Does anyone here not love a Raymond Chen mystery?

22 Feb 2024 7:08pm GMT

05 Feb 2024

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My FOSDEM 2024 Experience

Sharing my experience after giving a talk at FOSDEM 2024!

05 Feb 2024 12:00am GMT

28 Jan 2024

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GNOME battery charge control

As someone who has to use a laptop for work, I keep my laptop plugged in 8 hours or more a day, 7 days a week. The laptop's battery during these days would discharge and charge, slowly degrading the battery because only the last ~ 20% would be charged and discharged …

28 Jan 2024 12:00am GMT

10 Jan 2024

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Why stdout is faster than stderr?

I recently realized stdout is much faster than stderr for Rust. Here are my findings after diving deep into this rabbit hole.

10 Jan 2024 12:00am GMT