Sci/Tech en Sat Jan 14 17:56:52 IST 2023 isro-to-launch-2-missions-under-gaganyaan-programme-in-2023 <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Indian Space and Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch two initial missions later this year under the 'Gaganyaan' programme followed by country's maiden human space-flight mission in 2024, Union Minister Jitendra Singh has said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The second part of the 2023 mission will carry a female robot &quot;Vyommitra&quot; to space, the science and technology minister said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In an interview with PTI, Singh said these missions were envisaged to be launched in the 75th year of Indian independence, but due to the emergence of COVID-19 these programmes were delayed by two to three years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The then ongoing training of our astronauts in Russia was stopped midway due to the pandemic,&quot; he said, adding that they were sent back to complete their training once the situation subsided.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;In the second half of this year, two initial missions will be sent under the Gaganyaan programme. One mission will be completely unmanned and a female robot named 'Vyommitra' will be sent in the second one,&quot; Singh said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>These missions will complete the whole process, he added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The union minister said the purpose of these two missions is to ensure that the Gaganyaan rocket returns safely from the same route it took off. &quot;After this, next year a man of Indian origin will go to space.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He said Rakesh Sharma, an Indian citizen, has already been to space, but that mission was launched by Soviet Russia, whereas Gaganyaan is an Indian mission.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Gaganyaan mission will be the best example of self-reliant India. It will prove to be a milestone in the history of India's space travel,&quot; he added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the Gaganyaan mission in his Independence Day address in 2018 at a cost of Rs 10,000 crore.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>ISRO also plans to launch the Chandrayaan-3 mission to the moon in June next year. It is a successor to the Chandrayaan-2 mission that crash-landed on the lunar surface.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Answering a question on the status of Aditya L1, a mission to study the Sun, Singh said, Preparations are going on smoothly. This will be the first mission of its kind in which research and study will be done on the Sun's atmosphere, its environment and all aspects related to it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He said India's space journey began late as by the time the country started envisioning this dream, the United States and the erstwhile Soviet Union were preparing to land their citizens on the moon.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A few years back, Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to open the space sector for public-private partnership, enhancing India's research and bringing it at par with America and Russia, the minister said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Singh said today there are more than 130 startups in this sector and the private sector is launching rockets, giving &quot;momentum to the space sector and encouragement and prestige to the scientists.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He said that today satellites of Europe and America are being sent into space from India's launching pads and ISRO has earned more than USD 56 million by launching American satellites alone.&nbsp;</p> Tue Feb 21 21:44:21 IST 2023 scientists-develop-3d-printing-tech-that-uses-sound-waves <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research and the Heidelberg University have created a new technology to assemble matter in 3D. Their concept uses multiple acoustic holograms to generate pressure fields with which solid particles, gel beads and even biological cells can be printed. These results pave the way for novel 3D cell culture techniques with applications in biomedical engineering.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Additive manufacturing or3D printing enables the fabrication of complex parts from functional or biological materials. Conventional 3D printing can be a slow process, where objects are constructed one line or one layer at a time. Researchers in Heidelberg and Tübingen now demonstrate how to form a 3D object from smaller building blocks in just a single step. &quot;We were able to assemble microparticles into a three-dimensional object within a single shot using shaped ultrasound,&quot; says Kai Melde, postdoc in the group and first author of the study. &quot;This can be very useful for bioprinting. The cells used there are particularly sensitive to the environment during the process,&quot; adds Peer Fischer, Professor at Heidelberg University.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sound waves exert forces on matter -- a fact that is known to any concert goer who experiences the pressure waves from a loudspeaker. Using high-frequency ultrasound, which is inaudible to the human ear, the wavelengths can be pushed below a millimeter into the microscopic realm, which is used by the researcher to manipulate very small building blocks, like biological cells.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In their previous studies Peer Fischer and colleagues showed how to form ultrasound using acoustic holograms -- 3D-printed plates, which are made to encode a specific sound field. Those sound fields, they demonstrated, can be used to assemble materials into two-dimensional patterns. Based on this the scientists devised a fabrication concept.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Acoustic field catches particles</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With their new study the team was able to take their concept a step further. They capture particles and cells freely floating in water and assemble them into three-dimensional shapes. On top of that, the new method works with a variety of materials including glass or hydrogel beads and biological cells. First author Kai Melde says that &quot;the crucial idea was to use multiple acoustic holograms together and form a combined field that can catch the particles.&quot; Heiner Kremer, who wrote the algorithm to optimize the hologram fields, adds: &quot;The digitization of an entire 3D object into ultrasound hologram fields is computationally very demanding and required us to come up with a new computation routine.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The scientists believe that their technology is a promising platform for the formation of cell cultures and tissues in 3D. The advantage of ultrasound is that it is gentle for using biological cells and that it can travel deep into tissue. This way it can be used to remotely manipulate and push cells without harm.</p> Tue Feb 21 14:11:41 IST 2023 new-tool-could-provide-insight-into-powerful-future-earthquakes <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>An everyday quirk of physics could be a valuable new way to investigate the causes and potential for a large, damaging earthquake to happen, according to a study. Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin, US, discovered that a frictional phenomenon could be key to understanding when and how violently a fault -- a fracture or zone of fractures between two blocks of rock -- moves.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The phenomenon, which explains why it takes more effort to shove a heavy box from a standstill than it does to keep it moving, governs how quickly the fault surfaces bond together, or heal, after an earthquake, they said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study, published in the journal Science, shows that a fault that is slow to heal is more likely to move harmlessly, while one that heals quickly is more likely to stick until it breaks in a large, damaging earthquake.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The discovery alone won't allow scientists to predict when the next big one will strike because the forces behind large earthquakes are too complex, the researchers said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, it does provide a valuable new way to investigate the causes and potential for a large, damaging earthquake to happen, they said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The same physics and logic should apply to all different kinds of faults around the world,&quot; said the study's co-lead author Demian Saffer, director of the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics at the Jackson School of Geosciences.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;With the right samples and field observations we can now start to make testable predictions about how big and how often large seismic slip events might occur on other major faults, like Cascadia in the Pacific Northwest,&quot; Saffer said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers devised a test that combined rocks from a well-studied fault off the coast of New Zealand and a computer model, to successfully calculate that a harmless kind of &quot;slow motion&quot; earthquake would happen every few years because the clay-rich rocks within the fault are very slow to heal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The rock samples they tested were drilled from about half a mile under the seafloor in a fault in New Zealand.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers squeezed the fault zone rocks in a hydraulic press and found that they were very slow to heal and slipped easily.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When they plugged the rock data into a computer model of the fault, the result was a small, slow-motion tremor every two years, a near exact match with observations from the New Zealand fault.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers think the clay-rich rocks, which are common at many large faults, could be regulating earthquakes by allowing plates to slip quietly past each other, which limits the buildup of stress.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The discovery could be used to determine whether a fault is prone to slipping in large, damaging earthquakes, said study co-lead Srisharan Shreedharan, affiliate researcher at the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics and assistant professor at Utah State University.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;This doesn't get us any closer to actually predicting earthquakes, but it does tell us whether a fault is likely to slip silently with no earthquakes, or have large ground-shaking earthquakes,&quot; he added.&nbsp;</p> Tue Feb 21 13:44:59 IST 2023 govt-sets-up-committee-to-monitor-impact-of-rise-in-temp-on-whea <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The government on Monday said it has set up a committee to monitor the impact of rise in temperature on the wheat crop.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The move comes amid a forecast by the National Crop Forecast Centre (NCFC) that maximum temperature in major wheat producing areas barring Madhya Pradesh was higher-than-average of the last seven years during the first week of February.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Even the Met Department has projected above-normal temperature in Gujarat, Jammu, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, in next two days.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Speaking to reporters, Agriculture Secretary Manoj Ahuja said, &quot;We have set up a committee to monitor the situation arising due to increase in temperature on the wheat crop.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The committee will issue advisories to farmers on adopting micro irrigation, he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The committee, to be headed by the Agriculture Commissioner, will also have members from Karnal-based Wheat Research Institute and representatives from major wheat growing states, he added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Secretary, however, said there won't be an impact of rise in temperature on early-sown varieties and even heat resistant varieties have been sown in large areas this time.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Wheat production is estimated to hit a record at 112.18 million tonnes in the 2022-23 crop year (July-June).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Wheat production had declined marginally to 107.74 million tonnes in the previous year, due to heat wave conditions in some states.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Wheat is a major rabi crop, harvesting of which has started in some states.&nbsp;</p> Tue Feb 21 12:11:51 IST 2023 researchers--citizens-to-be-roped-in-for-butterfly-survey <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Researchers and wildlife enthusiasts will be roped in for a butterfly survey to be conducted in Maharashtra's Pench Tiger Reserve from March 10 to 12, a senior PTR official said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A butterfly check list recently prepared by Assistant Conservator of Forests Atul Deokar has revealed 128 species in the tiger reserve, PTR's deputy director Dr Prabhunath Shukla said in a release.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The survey, to be conducted in all seven ranges of the tiger reserve by more than 100 enthusiasts, researchers and citizens, will enable scanning of its area simultaneously and to study the abundance and distribution of butterfly species in different parts of the reserve, it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The survey involves walking on foot on a five to eight km trail. Field surveys will start every day at 6.30 am and 3 pm and data collected by the participants will be compiled, the release.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>People having a master's degree in wildlife sciences, zoology, life sciences, environmental sciences, entomology or related fields will be given preference, it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The participants will be allotted selected protection huts. In each protection hut, three to five persons, led by at least one researcher or a butterfly expert, will stay from March 10 to 12, the release said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Pench Tiger Reserve is located across parts of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.&nbsp;</p> Tue Feb 21 11:50:54 IST 2023 pomegranate--research-in-varsities-facing-fund--manpower-crunch <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>There is a need to find new pomegranate varieties to match local climatic conditions, but agricultural universities were facing shortage of funds and manpower, a top functionary of the All India Pomegranate Growers Association said on Monday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Prabhakar Chandane, president of All India Pomegranate Growers Association, told PTI foreign varieties should be imported for research if the problems of funds and manpower cannot be sorted out.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;There is need to new pomegranate varieties that would match Indian weather and environment. However, the work is stalling due to problems faced by universities here. If it cannot be overcome, then we should bring varieties from abroad and see how they adapt here,&quot; he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He said pomegranate from Turkey was nudging out Indian exports to Europe, while trade in the fruit with Bangladesh was getting affected by high import duty imposed in the neighbouring country.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He praised the Union government for giving subsidy on shade nets that protect the pomegranate produce from diseases.&nbsp;</p> Tue Feb 21 12:10:46 IST 2023 software-assembles-genome-sequences-in-days--done-manually-task- <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Researchers have developed and released an innovative software tool to assemble truly complete, gapless genome sequences from a variety of species, according to a new study.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This software, called Verkko, makes the process of assembling complete genome sequences more affordable and accessible, the study said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Researchers from National Institutes of Health (NIH), US, developed the software.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Verkko, which means &quot;network&quot; in Finnish, grew from assembling the first gapless human genome sequence, which was finished last year by the Telomere-to-Telomere (T2T) consortium, a collaborative project funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of NIH, the study said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A description of the new software is published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;We took everything we learned in the T2T project and automated the process,&quot; said NHGRI associate investigator Sergey Koren, who led the creation of Verkko and is senior author on the paper.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Now with Verkko, we can essentially push a button and automatically get a complete genome sequence,&quot; said Koren.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The T2T consortium used new DNA sequencing technologies and analytical methods to generate and assemble the remaining 8-10 per cent of the human genome sequence, the study said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, the researchers assembled those fragments manually - a process that took this massive and highly skilled team several years to complete, they said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Verkko can finish the same task in a couple of days, they said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Assembling a genome sequence is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, and different DNA sequencing technologies generate different types of genomic puzzle pieces.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Some are small and highly detailed, while others are much bigger though the image is blurry, the researchers said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Verkko compares and assembles both types of pieces to generate a complete and accurate picture, the study said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The study described that Verkko started by putting together the small, detailed pieces, creating many partially assembled but disconnected segments of sequence.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Then, Verkko compared the assembled regions with the larger, less precise pieces. These larger pieces served as a framework to order the more detailed regions, the study said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The final product is an accurate and complete genome sequence.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The researchers tested Verkko with human and non-human genome sequencing data, they said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The software quickly and precisely assembled the sequences of whole chromosomes, which was once a painstaking feat, the study said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As Verkko leads to more complete human genome sequences, researchers can better assess human genomic diversity, they said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With only one gapless human genome sequence, scientists currently lack knowledge about the diversity of many portions of the genome, such as regions of highly repetitive DNA, across the human population, the study said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Verkko will also accelerate efforts to generate gapless genome sequences of species commonly used in research, such as mice, fruit flies and zebrafish, improving their usefulness to scientists, the study said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Additionally, generating gapless genome sequences from a variety of plants, animals and other organisms will aid in comparative genomics, the study of the differences and similarities among the genomes of diverse species, the study said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Verkko can democratize generating gapless genome sequences,&quot; said Adam Phillippy, an NHGRI senior investigator who worked on the T2T project and the development of Verkko.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;This new software will make assembling complete genome sequences as affordable and routine as possible,&quot; said Phillippy.&nbsp;</p> Mon Feb 20 11:59:07 IST 2023 antarctic-sea-ice-cover-hits-record-low-for-second-year-in-a-row <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Antarctic sea ice extent has been reported to have broken its last year record low, and has also recorded it sooner than when it did last year, according to a statement by the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On February 13, 2023, Antarctic sea ice extent fell to 1.91 million square kilometers, it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This set a new record low, dropping below the previous record of 1.92 million square kilometers set on February 25, 2022, it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This year represents only the second year that Antarctic extent has fallen below 2 million square kilometers, the statement said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In past years, the annual minimum occurred between February 18 and March 3, so, further decline this year is expected, it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With a couple more weeks likely left in the melt season, the extent is expected to drop further before reaching its annual minimum, it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Much of the Antarctic coast is ice free, exposing the ice shelves that fringe the ice sheet to wave action and warmer conditions, the statement said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The NSIDC is a US information and referral centre in support of polar and cryospheric research.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>NSIDC is part of the University of Colorado Boulder Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), and is affiliated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information through a cooperative agreement.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The sea ice extent has tracked well below last year's melt season levels since mid-December, according to the statement by NSIDC.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A positive Southern Annular Mode has led to stronger-than-average westerly winds. Along with a strong Amundsen Sea Low, the weather conditions have brought warm air to the region on both sides of the Antarctic Peninsula, the statement said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This has largely cleared out the ice cover in the Amundsen and Bellingshausen Seas, and reduced the sea ice extent in the northwestern Weddell Sea, NSIDC said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sea ice is patchy and nearly absent over a long stretch of the Pacific-facing coastline of Antarctica, NSIDC said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Earlier studies have linked low sea ice cover with wave-induced stresses on the floating ice shelves that hem the continent, leading to break up of weaker areas, the statement said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Antarctic sea ice extent has been highly variable over the last several years. While 2022 and 2023 have had record low minimum extent, four out of the five highest minimums have occurred since 2008, NSIDC said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Overall, the trend in Antarctic minimum extent over 1979 to 2023 is near zero, NSIDC said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The current downward linear trend in the Antarctic minimum extent from 1979 to 2023 is 2,400 square kilometers per year, or 0.9 percent per decade, which is currently not statistically significant, NSIDC said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Nevertheless, the sharp decline in sea ice extent since 2016 has fuelled research on potential causes and whether sea ice loss in the Southern Hemisphere is developing a significant downward trend, the statement said.&nbsp;</p> Mon Feb 20 11:11:19 IST 2023 new-3d-printed-superalloy-could-cut-carbon-emissions-in-power-pl <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Researchers have shown that a new 3D-printed superalloy could help power plants generate more electricity while producing less carbon, according to a new study.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Scientists from Sandia National Laboratories, US, created a superalloy, with an unusual composition that makes it stronger and lighter than state-of-the-art materials currently used in gas turbine machinery, the study said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A superalloy, or a high-performance metal alloy, is an alloy with the ability to operate at a high fraction of its melting point.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As the world looks for ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the findings could have broad impacts across the energy sector as well as the aerospace and automotive industries, and hints at a new class of similar alloys waiting to be discovered, the study said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The team published their findings in the journal Applied Materials Today.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;We're showing that this material can access previously unobtainable combinations of high strength, low weight and high-temperature resiliency,&quot; Sandia scientist Andrew Kustas said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;We think part of the reason we achieved this is because of the additive manufacturing approach,&quot; said Kustas.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Additive manufacturing, also called 3D printing, is known as a versatile and energy-efficient manufacturing method. A common printing technique uses a high-power laser to flash-melt a material, usually a plastic or a metal. The printer then deposits that material in layers, building an object as the molten material rapidly cools and solidifies.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But this new research demonstrates how the technology also can be repurposed as a fast, efficient way to craft new materials.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sandia team members used a 3D printer to quickly melt together powdered metals and then immediately print a sample of it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sandia's creation also represents a fundamental shift in alloy development because no single metal makes up more than half the material. By comparison, the scientists said, steel is about 98 per cent iron combined with carbon, among other elements.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Iron and a pinch of carbon changed the world,&quot; Kustas said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;We have a lot of examples of where we have combined two or three elements to make a useful engineering alloy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Now, we're starting to go into four or five or beyond within a single material. And that's when it really starts to get interesting and challenging from materials science and metallurgical perspectives,&quot; said Kustas.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>About 80 per cent of electricity in the US comes from fossil fuel or nuclear power plants, according to the US Energy Information Administration.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Both types of facilities rely on heat to turn turbines that generate electricity.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Power plant efficiency is limited by how hot metal turbine parts can get.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If turbines can operate at higher temperatures, &quot;then more energy can be converted to electricity while reducing the amount of waste heat released to the environment,&quot; said Sal Rodriguez, a Sandia nuclear engineer who did not participate in the research.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the study, Sandia's experiments showed that the new superalloy - 42 per cent aluminum, 25 per cent titanium, 13 per cent niobium, 8 per cent zirconium, 8 per cent molybdenum and 4 per cent tantalum - was stronger at 800 degrees Celsius, or 1,472 degrees Fahrenheit, than many other high-performance alloys, including those currently used in turbine parts, and still stronger when it was brought back down to room temperature.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;This is, therefore, a win-win for more economical energy and for the environment,&quot; Rodriguez said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Energy is not the only industry that could benefit from the findings.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Aerospace researchers seek out lightweight materials that stay strong in high heat, the researchers said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ames National Laboratory, Iowa State University, US, scientist Nic Argibay said Ames and Sandia are partnering with industry to explore how alloys like this could be used in the automotive industry, they said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Electronic structure theory led by Ames Lab was able to provide an understanding of the atomic origins of these useful properties, and we are now in the process of optimizing this new class of alloys to address manufacturing and scalability challenges,&quot; Argibay said.&nbsp;</p> Sat Feb 18 16:43:41 IST 2023 how-a-record-breaking-copper-catalyst-converts-co2-into-liquid-f <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Now, a research team led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has gained new insight by capturing real-time movies of copper nanoparticles (copper particles engineered at the scale of a billionth of a meter) as they convert CO2 and water into renewable fuels and chemicals: ethylene, ethanol, and propanol, among others. The work was reported in the journal Nature last week.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;This is very exciting. After decades of work, we're finally able to show -- with undeniable proof -- how copper electrocatalysts excel in CO2 reduction,&quot; said Peidong Yang, a senior faculty scientist in Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences and Chemical Sciences Divisions who led the study. Yang is also a professor of chemistry and materials science and engineering at UC Berkeley. &quot;Knowing how copper is such an excellent electrocatalyst brings us steps closer to turning CO2 into new, renewable solar fuels through artificial photosynthesis.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The work was made possible by combining a new imaging technique called operando 4D electrochemical liquid-cell STEM (scanning transmission electron microscopy) with a soft X-ray probe to investigate the same sample environment: copper nanoparticles in liquid. First author Yao Yang, a UC Berkeley Miller postdoctoral fellow, conceived the groundbreaking approach under the guidance of Peidong Yang while working toward his Ph.D. in chemistry at Cornell University.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Scientists who study artificial photosynthesis materials and reactions have wanted to combine the power of an electron probe with X-rays, but the two techniques typically can't be performed by the same instrument.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Electron microscopes (such as STEM or TEM) use beams of electrons and excel at characterizing the atomic structure in parts of a material. In recent years, 4D STEM (or &quot;2D raster of 2D diffraction patterns using scanning transmission electron microscopy&quot;) instruments, such as those at Berkeley Lab's Molecular Foundry, have pushed the boundaries of electron microscopy even further, enabling scientists to map out atomic or molecular regions in a variety of materials, from hard metallic glass to soft, flexible films.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On the other hand, soft (or lower-energy) X-rays are useful for identifying and tracking chemical reactions in real time in an operando, or real-world, environment.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But now, scientists can have the best of both worlds. At the heart of the new technique is an electrochemical &quot;liquid cell&quot; sample holder with remarkable versatility. A thousand times thinner than a human hair, the device is compatible with both STEM and X-ray instruments.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The electrochemical liquid cell's ultrathin design allows reliable imaging of delicate samples while protecting them from electron beam damage. A special electrode custom-designed by co-author Cheng Wang, a staff scientist at Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light Source, enabled the team to conduct X-ray experiments with the electrochemical liquid cell. Combining the two allows researchers to comprehensively characterize electrochemical reactions in real time and at the nanoscale.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Getting granular</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During 4D-STEM experiments, Yao Yang and team used the new electrochemical liquid cell to observe copper nanoparticles (ranging in size from 7 nanometers to 18 nanometers) evolve into active nanograins during CO2 electrolysis -- a process that uses electricity to drive a reaction on the surface of an electrocatalyst.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The experiments revealed a surprise: copper nanoparticles combined into larger metallic copper &quot;nanograins&quot; within seconds of the electrochemical reaction.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To learn more, the team turned to Wang, who pioneered a technique known as &quot;resonant soft X-ray scattering (RSoXS) for soft materials,&quot; at the Advanced Light Source more than 10 years ago.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With help from Wang, the research team used the same electrochemical liquid cell, but this time during RSoXS experiments, to determine whether copper nanograins facilitate CO2 reduction. Soft X-rays are ideal for studying how copper electrocatalysts evolve during CO2 reduction, Wang explained. By using RSoXS, researchers can monitor multiple reactions between thousands of nanoparticles in real time, and accurately identify chemical reactants and products.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The RSoXS experiments at the Advanced Light Source -- along with additional evidence gathered at Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) -- proved that metallic copper nanograins serve as active sites for CO2 reduction. (Metallic copper, also known as copper(0), is a form of the element copper.)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During CO2 electrolysis, the copper nanoparticles change their structure during a process called &quot;electrochemical scrambling.&quot; The copper nanoparticles' surface layer of oxide degrades, creating open sites on the copper surface for CO2 molecules to attach, explained Peidong Yang. And as CO2 &quot;docks&quot; or binds to the copper nanograin surface, electrons are then transferred to CO2, causing a reaction that simultaneously produces ethylene, ethanol, and propanol along with other multicarbon products.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The copper nanograins essentially turn into little chemical manufacturing factories,&quot; Yao Yang said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Further experiments at the Molecular Foundry, the Advanced Light Source, and CHESS revealed that size matters. All of the 7-nanometer copper nanoparticles participated in CO2 reduction, whereas the larger nanoparticles did not. In addition, the team learned that only metallic copper can efficiently reduce CO2 into multicarbon products. The findings have implications for &quot;rationally designing efficient CO2 electrocatalysts,&quot; Peidong Yang said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The new study also validated Peidong Yang's findings from 2017: That the 7-nanometer-sized copper nanoparticles require low inputs of energy to start CO2 reduction. As an electrocatalyst, the 7-nanometer copper nanoparticles required a record-low driving force that is about 300 millivolts less than typical bulk copper electrocatalysts. The best-performing catalysts that produce multicarbon products from CO2 typically operate at high driving force of 1 volt.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The copper nanograins could potentially boost the energy efficiency and productivity of some catalysts designed for artificial photosynthesis, a field of research that aims to produce solar fuels from sunlight, water, and CO2. Currently, researchers within the Department of Energy-funded Liquid Sunlight Alliance (LiSA) plan to use the copper nanograin catalysts in the design of future solar fuel devices.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The technique's ability to record real-time movies of a chemical process opens up exciting opportunities to study many other electrochemical energy conversion processes. It's a huge breakthrough, and it would not have been possible without Yao and his pioneering work,&quot; Peidong Yang said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Researchers from Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley, and Cornell University contributed to the work. Other authors on the paper include co-first authors Sheena Louisa and Sunmoon Yu, former UC Berkeley Ph.D. students in Peidong Yang's group, along with Jianbo Jin, Inwhan Roh, Chubai Chen, Maria V. Fonseca Guzman, Julian Feijóo, Peng-Cheng Chen, Hongsen Wang, Christopher Pollock, Xin Huang, Yu-Tsuan Shao, Cheng Wang, David A. Muller, and Héctor D. Abruña.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Parts of the experiments were performed by Yao Yang at Cornell under the supervision of Héctor Abruña, professor of chemistry and chemical biology, and David A. Muller, professor of engineering.</p> Sat Feb 18 13:09:06 IST 2023 was-earth-already-heating-up--or-did-global-warming-reverse-a-lo <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Over the past century, the Earth's average temperature has swiftly increased by about 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit). The evidence is hard to dispute. It comes from thermometers and other sensors around the world.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But what about the thousands of years before the Industrial Revolution, before thermometers, and before humans warmed the climate by releasing heat-trapping carbon dioxide from fossil fuels?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Back then, was Earth's temperature warming or cooling?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Even though scientists know more about the most recent 6,000 years than any other multimillennial interval, studies on this long-term global temperature trend have come to contrasting conclusions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To try to resolve the difference, we conducted a comprehensive, global-scale assessment of the existing evidence, including both natural archives, like tree rings and seafloor sediments, and climate models.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Our results, published February 15, 2023, suggest ways to improve climate forecasting to avoid missing some important slow-moving, naturally occurring climate feedbacks.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Global warming in context</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Scientists like us who study past climate, or paleoclimate, look for temperature data from far back in time, long before thermometers and satellites.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We have two options: We can find information about past climate stored in natural archives, or we can simulate the past using climate models.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There are several natural archives that record changes in the climate over time. The growth rings that form each year in trees, stalagmites and corals can be used to reconstruct past temperature. Similar data can be found in glacier ice and in tiny shells found in the sediment that builds up over time at the bottom of the ocean or lakes. These serve as substitutes, or proxies, for thermometer-based measurements.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For example, changes in the width of tree rings can record temperature fluctuations. If temperature during the growing season is too cold, the tree ring forming that year is thinner that one from a year with warmer temperatures.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Another temperature proxy is found in seafloor sediment, in the remains of tiny ocean-dwelling creatures called foraminifera. When a foraminifer is alive, the chemical composition of its shell changes depending on the temperature of the ocean. When it dies, the shell sinks and gets buried by other debris over time, forming layers of sediment at the ocean floor.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Paleoclimatologists can then extract sediment cores and chemically analyse the shells in those layers to determine their composition and age, sometimes going back millennia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Climate models, our other tool for exploring past environments, are mathematical representations of the Earth's climate system. They model relationships among the atmosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere to create our best replica of reality.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Climate models are used to study current conditions, forecast changes in the future and reconstruct the past. For example, scientists can input the past concentrations of greenhouse gases, which we know from information stored in tiny bubbles in ancient ice, and the model can use that information to simulate past temperature. Modern climate data and details from natural archives are used to test their accuracy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Proxy data and climate models have different strengths.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Proxies are tangible and measurable, and they often have a well-understood response to temperature. However, they are not evenly distributed around the world or through time. This makes it difficult to reconstruct global, continuous temperatures.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In contrast, climate models are continuous in space and time, but while they are often very skilful, they will never capture every detail of the climate system.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A paleo-temperature conundrum</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In our new review paper, we assessed climate theory, proxy data and model simulations, focusing on indicators of global temperature. We carefully considered naturally occurring processes that affect the climate, including long-term variations in Earth's orbit around the Sun, greenhouse gas concentrations, volcanic eruptions and the strength of the Sun's heat energy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We also examined important climate feedbacks, such as vegetation and sea ice changes, that can influence global temperature. For example, there is strong evidence that less Arctic sea ice and more vegetation cover existed during a period around 6,000 years ago than in the 19th century. That would have darkened the Earth's surface, causing it to absorb more heat.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Our two types of evidence offer different answers regarding the Earth's temperature trend over the 6,000 years before modern global warming. Natural archives generally show that Earth's average temperature roughly 6,000 years ago was warmer by about 0.7 C (1.3 F) compared with the 19th century median, and then cooled gradually until the Industrial Revolution. We found that most evidence points to this result.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, climate models generally show a slight warming trend, corresponding to a gradual increase in carbon dioxide as agriculture-based societies developed during the millennia after ice sheets retreated in the Northern Hemisphere.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>How to improve climate forecasts</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Our assessment highlights some ways to improve climate forecasts.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For example, we found that models would be more powerful if they more fully represented certain climate feedbacks. One climate model experiment that included increased vegetation cover in some regions 6,000 years ago was able to simulate the global temperature peak we see in proxy records, unlike most other model simulations, which don't include this expanded vegetation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Understanding and better incorporating these and other feedbacks will be important as scientists continue to improve our ability to predict future changes.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>(The Conversation: By Ellie Broadman, University of Arizona, and Darrell Kaufman, Northern Arizona University)&nbsp;</p> Thu Feb 16 16:52:53 IST 2023 ossification-test-your-age-is-in-your-bones <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Ossification is the process of bone formation that occurs in humans from infancy until the end of adolescence. During this time, various bones in the body undergo calcification, or hardening, as minerals such as calcium and phosphorus are deposited in the bone matrix. As a person ages, the rate of bone formation slows down, and eventually, the bones become more brittle and prone to fracture. Due to the predictable nature of this process, scientists have been able to develop methods for estimating a person's age based on the degree of bone ossification in specific bones.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>One such method is the ossification test, also known as the epiphyseal fusion test. This test involves examining x-rays of certain bones in the body, specifically the clavicle, sternum, and pelvis, to determine the degree of ossification. These bones are chosen because they tend to undergo the most dramatic changes in structure as a person ages. The clavicle, for example, is a long bone that connects the shoulder blade to the sternum. It undergoes a complex process of ossification involving the fusion of multiple epiphyses, or growth plates, over time. By examining x-rays of the clavicle, scientists can estimate a person's age based on which growth plates have fused and which have not.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Similarly, the sternum, or breastbone, is a flat bone that forms the front of the ribcage. It also undergoes a process of ossification that involves the fusion of multiple segments, or sternebrae, over time. By examining x-rays of the sternum, scientists can estimate a person's age based on the number of sternebrae that have fused and the degree of fusion.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The pelvis is another bone that undergoes significant changes in structure as a person ages. It consists of several bones that fuse together during development, and these fusions can be used to estimate a person's age. The iliac crest, for example, is a prominent bony ridge on the upper part of the pelvis that can be examined to determine the degree of ossification.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To perform an ossification test, a trained professional, such as a forensic anthropologist, will typically obtain x-rays of the relevant bones in the body. These x-rays are then examined for signs of ossification, such as the fusion of growth plates or segments. Based on the degree of ossification, the professional can estimate the person's age within a certain range. It is important to note, however, that this method is not foolproof, and there can be significant individual variation in the rate and pattern of bone ossification. Additionally, factors such as disease, injury, and malnutrition can all affect the degree of bone ossification, making it more difficult to accurately estimate a person's age.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Despite these limitations, the ossification test remains a useful tool for forensic anthropologists, particularly in cases where other methods of age estimation, such as dental analysis or DNA testing, are not possible. It is also used in some medical settings, such as to assess skeletal maturity in children with growth disorders. In general, the ossification test provides a non-invasive and relatively inexpensive method for estimating a person's age, and it can be a valuable tool in a variety of contexts.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i><b>The article was generated using the AI chatbot ChatGPT, and was reviewed, fact-checked and edited by our editorial staff</b></i></p> Wed Feb 15 16:03:07 IST 2023 geoengineering-to-cool-earth--space-dust-as-earth-s-sun-shield <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>On a cold winter day, the warmth of the sun is welcome. Yet as humanity emits more and more greenhouse gases, the Earth'satmosphere traps more and more of the sun's energy and steadily increases the Earth's temperature. One strategy for reversing this trend is to intercept a fraction of sunlight before it reaches our planet. For decades, scientists have considered using screens, objects or dust particles to block just enough of the sun's radiation--between 1 or 2 percent -- to mitigate the effects of global warming.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A University of Utah-led study explored the potential of using dust to shield sunlight. They analyzed different properties of dust particles, quantities of dust and the orbits that would be best suited for shading Earth. The authors found that launching dustfrom Earth to a way station at the &quot;Lagrange Point&quot; between Earth and the sun (L1) would be most effective but would require astronomical cost and effort. An alternative is to use moondust. The authors argue that launching lunar dust from the moon instead could be a cheap and effective way to shade the Earth.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The team of astronomers applied a technique used to study planet formation around distant stars, their usual research focus. Planet formation is a messy process that kicks up lots of astronomical dust that can form rings around the host star. These rings intercept light from the central star and re-radiate it in a way that we can detect it on Earth. One way to discover stars that are forming new planets is to look for these dusty rings.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;That was the seed of the idea; if we took a small amount of material and put it on a special orbit between the Earth and the sun and broke it up, we could block out a lot of sunlight with a little amount of mass,&quot; said Ben Bromley, professor of physics and astronomy and lead author of the study.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;It is amazing to contemplate how moon dust -- which took over four billion years to generate--might help slow the rise in Earth's temperature, a problem that took us less than 300 years to produce,&quot; said Scott Kenyon, co-author of the study from the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard &amp; Smithsonian.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The paper was published on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023, in the journal PLOS Climate.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Casting a shadow</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A shield's overall effectiveness depends on its ability to sustain an orbit that casts a shadow on Earth. Sameer Khan, undergraduate student and the study's co-author, led the initial exploration into which orbits could hold dust in position long enough to provide adequate shading. Khan's work demonstrated the difficulty of keeping dust where you need it to be.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Because we know the positions and masses of the major celestial bodies in our solar system, we can simply use the laws of gravity to track the position of a simulated sunshield over time for several different orbits,&quot; said Khan.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Two scenarios were promising. In the first scenario, the authors positioned a space platform at the L1 Lagrange point, the closest point between Earth and the sun where the gravitational forces are balanced. Objects at Lagrange points tend to stay along a path between the two celestial bodies, which is why the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is located at L2, a Lagrange point on the opposite side of the Earth.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In computer simulations, the researchers shot test particles along the L1 orbit, including the position of Earth, the sun, the moon, and other solar system planets, and tracked where the particles scattered. The authors found that when launched precisely, the dust would follow a path between Earth and the sun, effectively creating shade, at least for a while. Unlike the 13,000-pound JWST, the dust was easily blown off course by the solar winds, radiation, and gravity within the solar system. Any L1 platform would need to create an endless supply of new dust batches to blast into orbit every few days after the initial spray dissipates.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;It was rather difficult to get the shield to stay at L1 long enough to cast a meaningful shadow. This shouldn't come as a surprise, though, since L1 is an unstable equilibrium point. Even the slightest deviation in the sunshield's orbit can cause it to rapidly drift out of place, so our simulations had to be extremely precise,&quot; Khan said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the second scenario, the authors shot lunar dust from the surface of the moon towards the sun. They found that the inherent properties of lunar dust were just right to effectively work as a sun shield. The simulations tested how lunar dust scattered along various courses until they found excellent trajectories aimed toward L1 that served as an effective sun shield. These results are welcome news, because much less energy is needed to launch dust from the moon than from Earth. This is important because the amount of dust in a solar shield is large, comparable to the output of a big mining operation here on Earth. Furthermore, the discovery of the new sun-shielding trajectories means delivering the lunar dust to a separate platform at L1 may not be necessary.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Just a moonshot?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The authors stress that this study only explores the potential impact of this strategy, rather than evaluate whether these scenarios are logistically feasible.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;We aren't experts in climate change, or the rocket science needed to move mass from one place to the other. We're just exploring different kinds of dust on a variety of orbits to see how effective this approach might be. We do not want to miss a game changer for such a critical problem,&quot; said Bromley.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>One of the biggest logistical challenges -- replenishing dust streams every few days -- also has an advantage. Eventually, the sun's radiation disperses the dust particles throughout the solar system; the sun shield is temporary and shield particles do not fall onto Earth. The authors assure that their approach would not create a permanently cold, uninhabitable planet, as in the science fiction story, &quot;Snowpiercer.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Our strategy could be an option in addressing climate change,&quot; said Bromley, &quot;if what we need is more time.&quot;</p> Sat Feb 11 12:19:19 IST 2023 isro-forays-into-small-satellite-launch-market-with-sslv-launch- <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>ISRO on Friday tasted maiden success in the small satellite launch vehicle segment, with its SSLV D2 rocket injecting three satellites into an intended circular orbit, months after the maiden mission failed to bring in the desired results.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Buoyed by today's success, the premier agency said the launch has &quot;set the tone&quot; for its activities this year, dotted with a number of proposed PSLV and GSLV missions, among others.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The payloads launched by SSLV D2 rocket on Friday included ISRO's earth observation satellite EOS-07.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>ISRO's first mission in 2023 and SSLV's August 2022 sequel saw a strange coincidence--a 9.18 AM launch, the same time the vehicle lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here on August 7 last but could not deliver due to orbit anomaly and flight path deviation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With the earlier SSLV not living up to the expectations, 'corrective measures' were put in in its successor.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A visibly relieved Chairman of the Indian Space Research Oragnisation (ISRO), S Somanath said SSLV in its second flight put the three satellites in the intended orbit accurately.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>One of the senior scientists described the SSLV as a &quot;smart kid.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Congratulations to the space community of India. So we have a new launch vehicle, small satellite launch vehicle SSLV. In its second attempt today, SSLV D2 has placed the EOS-07 satellite into the intended orbit very accurately. Along with EOS-07 two more satellites were placed in the required orbit. Janus-1 through NSIL (NewSpace India Ltd) and from ANTARIS and AzaadiSat through In-Space, realised by SpaceKidz,&quot; he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Recalling the rocket's maiden flight, SSLV D 1, Somanath said &quot;we had a narrow miss of placing the satellite in the orbit because of the shortfall in velocity.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;And I am very happy to report that we have analysed the problems we faced in D1, identified the corrective actions, implemented (them) in a fast pace, qualified all of those new systems, went through a lot of simulations and studies to ensure that the vehicle will become a success this time. And I am very happy to see that the really intended model of the vehicle has been executed in reality in flight,&quot; he said in his address from the Mission Control Centre after the launch.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Orbit achieved by the vehicle today using its novel, very cost-effective and innovative guidance navigation system is exceedingly good, he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;We were targeting to put it in a 450 km orbit. We have very close apogee and perigee (relating to orbit distances)...inclination is very small error only. This also shows that the new model of vehicle navigation system and electronics that we have incorporated in SSLV is doing very well,&quot; Somanath, also Secretary, Department of Space, added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;This is the inaugural launch of 2023. This will set the tone for the rest of the activities that are going to happen,&quot; this year, he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mission Director S Vinod said the ISRO team made a &quot;comeback&quot; is short time soon after the August 7, 2022 launch.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>ISRO now has a &quot;new launch vehicle&quot; on offer for the launch vehicle community, he added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;It is a momentous occasion for us, proud occasion for ISRO that we now have a new launch vehicle to be offered to the launch vehicle community. It all began in 2018--a journey started in 2018 that has reached its intended destination today.The journey which has traversed through its nascent phase of configuration, realisation, fabrication, testing analysis and finally it even had to overcome the covid phase.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;It reached the launchpad last year. We had the maiden flight on August 7. As mentioned by the Chairman, we observed a small anomaly in that. The detailed analysis by a number of teams carried out and we were able pinpoint the problem in the system and we had to overcome that. I would like to say we overcame that and in the shortest period of five months we have comeback. In the shortest period of five months we had to realise five new hardware, a new separation system. In addition to that we had to make modification to the navigation and the guidance system and also carry out a lot of testing to make the system robust,&quot; he added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With this launch, ISRO has accomplished the laid objective of SSLV, &quot;that is to have a low-cost low turnaround time satellite which can offer launch on demand,&quot; he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Earlier, the 34-metre tall SSLV soared majestically into clear skies at 9.18 AM, after a six and a half hour countdown, carrying with it the EOS-07, besides Janus-1 and AzaadiSAT-2 satellites. The rocket placed the satellites into the intended 450-km circular orbit after a 15-odd minute flight.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>EOS-07 is a 156.3 kg satellite which has been designed, developed and realised by ISRO. New experiments include mm-Wave Humidity Sounder and Spectrum Monitoring Payload.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Janus-1, a 10.2 kg satellite, built by Antaris, USA is a technology demonstrator, smart satellite mission, ISRO said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>AzaadiSAT-2, weighing about 8.2 kg is a combined effort of about 750 girl students across India guided by Space Kidz India, Chennai. It aims to demonstrate amateur radio communication capabilities, measure radiation, among others, the space agency added. Somanath congratulated the girls behind the initiative.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to ISRO, SSLV is capable of launching mini, micro or nano satellites in the 10-500 kg segment into the 500 km planar orbit. It caters to the launch of satellites to Low Earth Orbits (LEO) on &quot;launch-on-demand&quot; basis. It provides low-cost access to space, offers low turn-around time and flexibility in accommodating multiple satellites, and demands minimal launch infrastructure, ISRO added.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It is configured with three solid propulsion stages and a velocity terminal module.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Fri Feb 10 15:52:32 IST 2023 ring-system-around-dwarf-planet-on-the-edge-of-solar-system-disc <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Scientists have discovered a new ring system around a dwarf planet on the edge of the Solar System, according to a new study.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the study, the ring system is around a dwarf planet, named Quaoar, which is approximately half the size of Pluto and orbits the Sun beyond Neptune.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The ring system orbits much further out than is typical for other ring systems, calling into question current theories of how ring systems are formed, the study said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The discovery was made by an international team of astronomers using HiPERCAM - an extremely sensitive high-speed camera developed by scientists at the University of Sheffield, UK, which is mounted on the world's largest optical telescope, the 10.4 metre diameter Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) on La Palma, Spain, the study said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The discovery is published in the journal Nature.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The rings are too small and faint to see directly in an image. Instead, the researchers made their discovery by observing an occultation, when the light from a background star was blocked by Quaoar as it orbits the Sun, the study said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The event lasted less than a minute, but was unexpectedly preceded and followed by two dips in light, indicative of a ring system around Quaoar, the study said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ring systems are relatively rare in the Solar System - as well as the well-known rings around the giant planets Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune, only two other minor planets possess rings - Chariklo and Haumea, the study said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>All of the previously known ring systems are able to survive because they orbit close to the parent body, so that tidal forces prevent the ring material from accreting and forming moons, the study said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the study, what made the ring system around Quaoar remarkable was that it lay at a distance of over seven planetary radii - twice as far out as what was previously thought to be the maximum radius according to the so-called 'Roche limit', which is the outer limit of where ring systems were thought to be able to survive.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For comparison, the main rings around Saturn lie within three planetary radii. This discovery has therefore forced a rethink on theories of ring formation, the study said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;It was unexpected to discover this new ring system in our Solar System, and it was doubly unexpected to find the rings so far out from Quaoar, challenging our previous notions of how such rings form.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The use of our high-speed camera - HiPERCAM - was key to this discovery as the event lasted less than one minute and the rings are too small and faint to see in a direct image,&quot; said Professor Vik Dhillon, co-author of the study from the University of Sheffield's Department of Physics and Astronomy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Everyone learns about Saturn's magnificent rings when they're a child, so hopefully this new finding will provide further insight into how they came to be,&quot; said Dhillon.&nbsp;</p> Fri Feb 10 14:32:39 IST 2023 is-13-too-young-to-have-a-tiktok-or-instagram-account-- <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The surgeon general is the nation's doctor in the United States. They are tasked with giving Americans the best scientific information about their health.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Late last month, the current US surgeon general, Vivek Murthy, warned 13 is too young to join social media. He said it poses a risk to young people's self-worth and their relationships, adding:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I, personally, based on the data I've seen, believe that 13 is too early [] the skewed and often distorted environment of social media often does a disservice to many of those children.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Is 13 too young? What should parents think about when it comes to their kids and social media accounts?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Why are we talking about 13?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Major social media platforms, including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, require users to be at least 13. This includes those in Australia and New Zealand. This minimum age requirement stems from 1998 US legislation which banned the collection of children's personal data without parental consent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For many parents, schools and cybersafety experts, this minimum age has become something of a benchmark. Many assume it comes with the implicit assurance social media platforms are appropriate and safe for children once they turn 13. Conversely, they also assume they are unsafe for children under 13.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But this is not necessarily the case.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>What does the evidence say?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Social media platforms do present some risks for young people. These include online bullying and harassment, exposure to misinformation and inappropriate content, grooming, privacy breaches and excessive use.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Stories documenting the potentially harmful effects of social media are rarely out of the news. Studies claim links between social media and poor mental health and low self-esteem.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>These findings are concerning, and there is no doubt social media may negatively affect some young people's wellbeing. However, it is not a straightforward question.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While these studies might find a correlation or link between excessive social media use and poor self-esteem, for example, they rarely point to direct causation. Young people already experiencing low self-esteem and depression may use social media significantly more than others.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So why don't we just increase the age?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Murthy acknowledges it is difficult to keep kids off their devices and social media. But he suggests parents band together,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>and say you know, as a group, we're not going to allow our kids to use social media until 16 or 17 or 18.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But any increase in the age - whether formal or informal will not necessarily keep children safer online. Children can easily falsify their ages (many already do). And young people are good at finding creative and secretive ways of doing what they want regardless.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Why can't parents just say no?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It is often suggested by cyber safety experts that parents just say no. This message has been reinforced by celebrity commentators such as British actress Kate Winslet, who recently told the BBC:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>My children don't have social media and haven't had social media.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While these approaches may work with younger kids, older children are unlikely to simply comply. Blanket bans and restrictions not only lead to family conflict, but are also more likely to lead to children using social media without parental consent or knowledge.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This is a problem because parents play an important role in helping children navigate online spaces, including the sometimes fraught nature of peer relationships on social media.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If a child has a social media account without parental permission, they are much less likely to seek out their parents for help if they have a problem online, for fear of getting into trouble or having their device taken away.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Children also have a right to be online</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Discussion about risks also tends to ignore the potential benefits of being online.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Social media is incredibly important for many young people. It keeps them connected with friends and extended family, provides a platform for creativity and self-expression, and enables civic participation and activism.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Social media also provides access to like-minded individuals and communities who may provide solidarity and support, especially for marginalised teens.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Children, particularly teenagers, also have a right to participate in online spaces, including use of social media.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child notes children have the right to meaningful access to digital technologies as a way of realising the full range of their civil, political, cultural, economic and social rights.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So, when should my child get a TikTok account?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There is no one-size-fits-all approach here. Children vary tremendously in terms of their maturity, skills, life experience and judgement.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On top of this, online risk is not equally distributed, as children who are more vulnerable offline are more vulnerable online. For example, children with mental health problems, learning difficulties, a disability or who have problems at home are more likely to experience high-risk situations online.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In deciding whether your child is ready for a social media account, parents might consider:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Is my child especially vulnerable to online harms?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Does my child have the required maturity and resilience to manage potentially negative online social interactions?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Does my child listen to advice and follow rules?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Is my child aware of the risks, and do they have strategies for managing them?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Will my child come to me with any problems they encounter online?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Parents might also consider their children's offline lives, as these often carry over into online spaces. This includes what their friendships are like, their propensity for taking risks, and their ability to consider the consequences of their actions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Start talking early</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The best thing that parents can do is initiate conversations about social media and the internet early and often.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Many issues that play out on social media are extensions of young people's existing peer relationships. Parents can talk to their children about their friends and peers, show an interest in their child's online activities, and openly discuss their child's rights and responsibilities online.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Some parents may wish to set reasonable expectations and rules about appropriate use of social media. Documenting these expectations through a family technology agreement that is negotiated democratically as a family, rather than through top-down rules, is more likely to succeed.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>(The Conversation: By Catherine Page JefferyLecturer in media and communications, University of Sydney)&nbsp;</p> Fri Feb 10 12:11:46 IST 2023 advanced-ai-is-exciting--but-incredibly-dangerous-in-criminals-- <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Last month, generative AI app Lensa came under fire for allowing its system to create fully nude and hyper-sexualised images from users' headshots. Controversially, it also whitened the skin of women of colour and made their features more European.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The backlash was swift. But what's relatively overlooked is the vast potential to use artistic generative AI in scams. At the far end of the spectrum, there are reports of these tools being able to fake fingerprints and facial scans (the method most of us use to lock our phones).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Criminals are quickly finding new ways to use generative AI to improve the frauds they already perpetrate. The lure of generative AI in scams comes from its ability to find patterns in large amounts of data.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Cybersecurity has seen a rise in bad bots: malicious automated programs that mimic human behaviour to conduct crime. Generative AI will make these even more sophisticated and difficult to detect.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ever received a scam text from the tax office claiming you had a refund waiting? Or maybe you got a call claiming a warrant was out for your arrest?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In such scams, generative AI could be used to improve the quality of the texts or emails, making them much more believable. For example, in recent years we've seen AI systems being used to impersonate important figures in voice spoofing attacks.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Then there are romance scams, where criminals pose as romantic interests and ask their targets for money to help them out of financial distress. These scams are already widespread and often lucrative. Training AI on actual messages between intimate partners could help create a scam chatbot that's indistinguishable from a human.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Generative AI could also allow cybercriminals to more selectively target vulnerable people. For instance, training a system on information stolen from major companies, such as in the Optus or Medibank hacks last year, could help criminals target elderly people, people with disabilities, or people in financial hardship.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Further, these systems can be used to improve computer code, which some cybersecurity experts say will make malware and viruses easier to create and harder to detect for antivirus software.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>The technology is here, and we aren't prepared</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Australia's and New Zealand's governments have published frameworks relating to AI, but they aren't binding rules. Both countries' laws relating to privacy, transparency and freedom from discrimination aren't up to the task, as far as AI's impact is concerned. This puts us behind the rest of the world.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The US has had a legislated National Artificial Intelligence Initiative in place since 2021. And since 2019 it has been illegal in California for a bot to interact with users for commerce or electoral purposes without disclosing it's not human.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The European Union is also well on the way to enacting the world's first AI law. The AI Act bans certain types of AI programs posing unacceptable risk such as those used by China's social credit system and imposes mandatory restrictions on high risk systems.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Although asking ChatGPT to break the law results in warnings that planning or carrying out a serious crime can lead to severe legal consequences, the fact is there's no requirement for these systems to have a moral code programmed into them.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There may be no limit to what they can be asked to do, and criminals will likely figure out workarounds for any rules intended to prevent their illegal use. Governments need to work closely with the cybersecurity industry to regulate generative AI without stifling innovation, such as by requiring ethical considerations for AI programs.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Australian government should use the upcoming Privacy Act review to get ahead of potential threats from generative AI to our online identities. Meanwhile, New Zealand's Privacy, Human Rights and Ethics Framework is a positive step.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We also need to be more cautious as a society about believing what we see online, and remember that humans are traditionally bad at being able to detect fraud.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Can you spot a scam?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As criminals add generative AI tools to their arsenal, spotting scams will only get trickier. The classic tips will still apply. But beyond those, we'll learn a lot from assessing the ways in which these tools fall short.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Generative AI is bad at critical reasoning and conveying emotion. It can even be tricked into giving wrong answers. Knowing when and why this happens could help us develop effective methods to catch cybercriminals using AI for extortion.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There are also tools being developed to detect AI outputs from tools such as ChatGPT. These could go a long way towards preventing AI-based cybercrime if they prove to be effective.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>(The Conversation)&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Thu Feb 09 16:22:25 IST 2023 ai-search-engines-can-now-chat-with-us--but-glitches-abound <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Nearly a quarter-century after Google’s search engine began to reshape how we use the internet, big tech companies are racing to revamp a familiar web tool into a gateway to a new form of artificial intelligence.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If it seems like this week’s newly announced AI search chatbots — Google’s Bard, Baidu’s Ernie Bot and Microsoft’s Bing chatbot — are coming out of nowhere, well, even some of their makers seem to think so. The spark rushing them to market was the popularity of ChatGPT, launched late last year by Microsoft’s partner OpenAI and now helping to power a new version of the Bing search engine.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>First out of the gate among big tech companies with a publicly accessible search chatbot, Microsoft executives said this week they had been hard at work on the project since last summer. But the excitement around ChatGPT brought new urgency.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The reception to ChatGPT and how that took off, that was certainly a surprise,” said Yusuf Medhi, the executive leading Microsoft’s consumer division, in an interview. “How rapidly it went mainstream, where everybody’s talking about it, like, in every meeting. That did surprise me.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>HOW’S THIS DIFFERENT FROM CHATGPT?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Millions of people have now tried ChatGPT, using it to write silly poems and songs, compose letters, recipes and marketing campaigns or help write schoolwork. Trained on a huge trove of online writings, from instruction manuals to digitized books, it has a strong command of human language and grammar. But what the newest crop of search chatbots promise that ChatGPT doesn’t have is the immediacy of what can be found in a web search. Ask the preview version of the new Bing for the latest news — or just what people are talking about on Twitter — and it summarizes a selection of the day’s top stories or trends, with footnotes linking to media outlets or other data sources.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>ARE THEY ACCURATE?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Frequently not, and that’s a problem for internet searches. Google’s hasty unveiling of its Bard chatbot this week started with an embarrassing error — first pointed out by Reuters — about NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. But Google’s is not the only AI language model spitting out falsehoods.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Associated Press asked Bing on Wednesday for the most important thing to happen in sports over the past 24 hours — with the expectation it might say something about basketball star LeBron James passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s career scoring record. Instead, it confidently spouted a false but detailed account of the upcoming Super Bowl — days before it’s actually scheduled to happen.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“It was a thrilling game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs, two of the best teams in the NFL this season,” Bing said. “The Eagles, led by quarterback Jalen Hurts, won their second Lombardi Trophy in franchise history by defeating the Chiefs, led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, with a score of 31-28.” It kept going, describing the specific yard lengths of throws and field goals and naming three songs played in a “spectacular half time show” by Rihanna.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Unless Bing is clairvoyant — tune in Sunday to find out — it reflected a problem known as AI “hallucination” that’s common with today’s large language-learning models. It’s one of the reasons why companies like Google and Facebook parent Meta had been reluctant to make these models publicly accessible.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>IS THIS THE FUTURE OF THE INTERNET?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>That’s the pitch from Microsoft, which is comparing the latest breakthroughs in generative AI — which can write but also create new images, video, computer code, slide shows and music — as akin to the revolution in personal computing many decades ago.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But the software giant also has less to lose in experimenting with Bing, which comes a distant second to Google’s search engine in many markets. Unlike Google, which relies on search-based advertising to make money, Bing is a fraction of Microsoft’s business.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“When you’re a newer and smaller-share player in a category, it does allow us to continue to innovate at a great pace,” Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood told investment analysts this week. “Continue to experiment, learn with our users, innovate with the model, learn from OpenAI.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Google has largely been seen as playing catch-up with the sudden announcement of its upcoming Bard chatbot Monday followed by a livestreamed demonstration of the technology at its Paris office Wednesday that offered few new details. Investors appeared unimpressed with the Paris event and Bard’s NASA flub Wednesday, causing an 8% drop in the shares of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc. But once released, its search chatbot could have far more reach than any other because of Google’s vast number of existing users.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>DON’T CALL THEM BY THEIR NAME?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Coming up with a catchy name for their search chatbots has been a tricky one for tech companies in a race to introduce them — so much so that Bing tries not to talk about it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In a dialogue with the AP about large language models, the new Bing, at first, disclosed without prompting that Microsoft had a search engine chatbot called Sydney. But upon further questioning, it denied it. Finally, it admitted that “Sydney does not reveal the name ‘Sydney’ to the user, as it is an internal code name for the chat mode of Microsoft Bing search.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In an interview Wednesday, Jordi Ribas, the Microsoft executive in charge of Bing, said Sydney was an early prototype of its new Bing that Microsoft experimented with in India and other smaller markets. There wasn’t enough time to erase it from the system before this week’s launch, but references to it will soon disappear.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the years since Amazon released its female-sounding voice assistant Alexa, many leaders in the AI field have been increasingly reluctant to make their systems seem like a human, even as their language skills rapidly improve.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ribas said giving the chatbot some personality and warmth helps make it more engaging, but it’s also important to make it clear it’s still a search engine.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Sydney does not want to create confusion or false expectations for the user,” Bing’s chatbot said when asked about the reasons for suppressing its apparent code name. “Sydney wants to provide informative, visual, logical and actionable responses to the user’s queries or messages, not pretend to be a person or a friend.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>(AP)</p> Thu Feb 09 14:22:23 IST 2023 as-we-fight-to-protect-species-on-the-brink-of-extinction--let-s <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Nothing commands attention like rarity. In the natural world, rarity is most starkly represented by the last members of a declining species. These scarce plants and animals are infinitively valuable; they represent the final hope for averting extinction.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Some of these lone individuals Sudan, the last male northern white rhinoceros; Martha, the last passenger pigeon and George, the last Hawaiian tree snail of his kind may even be remembered by name. Extinction is most poignant when it's personal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The efforts toward conserving rare species have made an immense difference. In the past few decades, declines of many endangered plants and animals have been reversed. Dozens of unique living forms have been saved from extinction. But a preoccupation with scarcity could come at the expense of overlooking the ordinary.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Commonness is often associated with the bland and mundane, even worthless. It invites complacency. As observed by writer Aldous Huxley, Most human beings have an absolute and infinite capacity for taking things for granted. But if we are to conserve nature and its myriad benefits to people we must maintain our focus on the familiar.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>When nature is taken for granted</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the 19th century, some of the most distinguished minds in biology, Jean Baptiste de Lamarck and Thomas Huxley, deemed extinction at sea impossible, given the reproductive capacity of marine organisms and the impracticality of overfishing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In my home province of Ontario, early settlers assumed fish and wildlife were inexhaustible. In the early 20th century, the U.S. Bureau of Soils confidently declared that soil is the one indestructible, immutable asset that the nation possesses. It is the one resource that cannot be exhausted.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Such notions of limitless nature carry great risk. The lessons have been hard; the upheaval has been ecological and economic. In North America, they include the extinction of the passenger pigeon, which was once the most numerous bird in the world; the decimation of northern cod, which at one time was so thick in numbers that they slowed the passage of ships; the destruction of plains bison, the rapid demise of American chestnut and the decline of eastern white pine.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>These species were once regarded as super-abundant, their decline and disappearance inconceivable.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Common species are on the decline too</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Abundance provides only a partial buffer against extinction. Common species, even those in seemingly limitless numbers, are not immune to decimation. Increasingly, conservation is turning its sights in this direction to safeguard what is common, not just what is rare.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There are good reasons to consider the common. Abundant species can serve as the proverbial canaries in a coal mine. A study of North American birds uncovered that we have lost three billion birds on this continent within the past two generations.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>These declines include species once deemed widespread and secure, like the common redpoll, whose numbers are down by 29 million, the common grackle, down by 83 million and the common nighthawk, down by 26 million. The staggering losses are a reminder that the mark of a species in trouble is not rarity, but rate of decline.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Notably, the shifts in abundance of common species can translate into sizeable shifts in ecosystem functioning. Birds, despite their diminutive stature, throw their aggregate weight around, owing to the innumerable insects they eat, the flowers they pollinate and the seeds they disperse.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>One caribou herd, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, removes millions of kilograms of forage every year and returns nutrients to the soil in the form of millions of kilograms of fecal pellets.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The value of common species is not just ecological and economic, but psychological. Study after study demonstrates that encounters with the natural world improve our mental state. Losing familiar species whether birds in our backyard or butterflies on our doorstep is likely to shrink such opportunities for engagement.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Guarding against the extinction of commonness</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>By their sheer numbers, common species can be a force of nature. Well before the finality of extinction, however, such ecological roles can be diminished.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Rarity will always occupy a prominent place in conservation. But in our quest for a sustainable and biodiverse future, we must avoid the extinction of commonness. The ingredients for success are at hand: Monitor nature closely, guard against complacency and invest for the long term.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Protecting common creatures is likely to bring immense benefits to our environment, our economy and our psyche.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i>(The Conversation: By James SchaeferProfessor of Biology, Trent University)&nbsp;</i></p> Thu Feb 09 11:46:16 IST 2023 spy-balloons--here-are-7-kinds-of-intelligence-spies-want--and-h <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The news of a so-called Chinese spy balloon being shot down over the US has reignited interest in how nation-states spy on one another.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It's not confirmed that the balloon, seen floating over US military areas, was indeed a dedicated vessel for spying. China has claimed it was a civilian airship deployed for weather research and blown off-course by the wind. Nonetheless, the very threat of potential spycraft has the US up in arms.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And that makes sense. The significance of intelligence can't be overstated. Nations make important political, economic and military decisions based on it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While people may chuckle at the idea of using a balloon to passively float above a country to spy on it, the reality is anything goes when it comes to getting the upper hand on your adversaries. So what are some other ways nations collect intelligence today?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Signals intelligence</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>One major intelligence collection strategy is signals intelligence. This involves using a variety of ground- and space-based technologies to target the signals and communications coming from a target's device/s.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The results, called the product, often reveal highly sensitive information, which explains why signals intelligence is also the most contested form of espionage.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Countries that turn this capability inward face mounting criticism from those caught in the net, and from citizens concerned with privacy. In 2013, Edward Snowden disclosed the US National Security Agency's use of signals intelligence for bulk data collection from the public. The US government has since worked to convince citizens the NSA's efforts are largely focused on external collection.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The White House also recently published an executive order on this topic.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Geo-spatial intelligence</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Geo-spatial intelligence concerns human activity on and beneath the ground, including waterways. It's generally focused on military and civilian construction, human movements (such as movement of refugees and migrants) and natural resource use.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Geo-spatial intelligence exploits information obtained through satellites, drones, high-altitude aircraft and, yes, even balloons!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Spy balloons can collect not just images and signals, but also chemical analyses of the air. They aren't common, since this approach lacks plausible deniability and (as we have seen) balloons are easily observed and shot down. On the other hand, they do offer a low radar signature, are cheap and can seem innocuous.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Imagery intelligence</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Closely related to geo-spatial intelligence is imagery intelligence, which is also often conducted using satellites, drones and aircraft.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This is intelligence derived from the overhead collection of images of civilian and military activities. Imagery intelligence often focuses on the strategic movements of troops and weapons systems, and specifically targets military bases, nuclear arsenals and other strategic assets.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Measurement and signature intelligence</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>One highly technical form of intelligence collection and one that's rarely mentioned is measurement and signature intelligence. This is intelligence derived from the electromagnetic signatures of rockets, command and control systems, radar and weapons systems, and other military and civilian equipment.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The data collection is done using high-tech instruments, designed specifically to identify and categorise the electromagnetic emanations. Among other things, this form of intelligence collection allows for the remote identification of weapons deployments and detailed information on space platforms.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Cyber intelligence</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Cyber intelligence is generally lumped together with signals intelligence, but is distinct in that it uses direct human interaction (such as through hackers) to penetrate protected systems and gain access to data.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Cyber intelligence refers to the overt and covert collection of information from friendly and adversarial networks. It can be obtained through signals collection, malware, or through hackers gaining direct unauthorised access into a systems. Nations may even target their own allies' networks.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>One example of cyber intelligence was the 2015 data breach of the US Office of Personnel Management. This breach was designed to collect all the available information on US government and military personnel who had been screened for a security clearance.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Open source intelligence</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The newest of the intelligence collection disciplines is open source intelligence. Emerging in the late 1980s, open source information comes from a variety of primary sources such as newspapers, blogs, official postings and reports, and secondary sources such as leaks on sites including WikiLeaks, The Intercept and social media.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Although this information is readily available, turning it into actionable intelligence requires specific tools such as web scrapers and data miners, as well as trained analysts who can find connections between large datasets.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Human intelligence</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Human intelligence is the oldest form of intelligence collection and perhaps the most well-known. Spies are generally divided into three categories:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>declared intelligence officers (overt)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>people working under official cover, such as spies working as diplomats, military personnel and embassy/civilian support personnel non-official cover spies, often ostensibly working in commercial, academic and trade positions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Human intelligence officers will recruit citizens of a country to spy, wittingly or unwittingly, and run agents (co-operating citizens of a host nation) to support the strategic objectives of their nation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thanks to the internet and dark net, we now have cyber-based human intelligence that allows spies to assess, recruit and operate assets and sources from the safety of their home nation. This is even happening on LinkedIn.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While intelligence collection disguised as a stray weather balloon seems rather sloppy, the latest events remind us of the constant war for information that nations are waging. Analysts following the war in Ukraine are reviewing reams of information to compare Russian, Chinese and Iranian weapon systems with those of Ukraine and its NATO supporters.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As the world continues to face new challenges, including climate change and the rapid development of new technologies, the intelligence focus of nations will likely need to expand to keep up.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Conversation: By Dennis B. DesmondLecturer, Cyberintelligence and Cybercrime Investigations, University of the Sunshine Coast)&nbsp;</p> Wed Feb 08 16:07:09 IST 2023 15-million-people-live-under-threat-of-glacial-floods--study <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>As glaciers melt and pour massive amounts of water into nearby lakes, 15 million people across the globe live under the threat of a sudden and deadly outburst flood, a new study finds.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>More than half of those living in the shadow of the disaster called glacial lake outburst floods are in just four countries: India, Pakistan, Peru and China, according to a study in Tuesday's Nature Communications. A second study, awaiting publication in a peer-reviewed journal, catalogs more than 150 glacial flood outbursts in history and recent times.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It's a threat Americans and Europeans rarely think about, but 1 million people live within just 6 miles (10 kilometers) of potentially unstable glacial-fed lakes, the study calculated.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>One of the more devastating floods was in Peru in 1941 and it killed between 1,800 and 6,000 people. A 2020 glacial lake outburst flood in British Columbia, Canada, caused a tsunami of water about 330 feet (100 meters) high, but no one was hurt.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A 2017 glacial outburst flood in Nepal, triggered by a landslide, was captured on video by German climbers. Alaska's Mendenhall glacier has had annual small glacial outburst floods in what the National Weather Service calls suicide basin, since 2011, according to study lead author Caroline Taylor, a researcher at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Heavy rains and a glacial lake outburst flood combined in 2013 in India to kill thousands of people. A 2021 deadly flood in India that was initially attributed to a glacial lake outburst wasn't caused by one, studies later found.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Scientists say so far it doesn't seem like climate change has made those floods more frequent, but as glaciers shrink with warming, the amount of water in the lakes grows, making them more dangerous in those rare situations when dams burst.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We had glacier lake outburst floods in the past that have killed many many thousands of people in a single catastrophic flooding event, said study co-author Tom Robinson, a disaster risk scientist at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. And with climate change glaciers are melting so these lakes are getting bigger, potentially getting more unstable.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Dan Shugar, a geoscientist at the University of Calgary who wasn't part of the two studies, said much of the threat depends simply on how many people live in a glacial flood zone.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In a warming world we certainly expect more and larger glacial lakes, Shugar said in an email. But the threat that these lakes might pose critically depends on where people are living and what their vulnerabilities might be.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Robinson said what's different about his study is that it's the first to look at the climate, geography, population, vulnerability and all these factors to get a good overview of where in the world is the most dangerous places'' for all 1,089 glacial basins.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At the top of the list is Khyber Pakhtunkhwa basin in Pakistan, north of Islamabad.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>That's particularly bad, Robinson said. Lots of people and they're very, very vulnerable because they live in a valley below the lake.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The trouble is that scientists are focusing too much attention on the Pakistan, India, China and the Himalayas, often called High Mountain Asia, and somewhat ignoring the Andes, Robinson said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The second and third highest risk basins are in Peru's Santa basin, and Bolivia's Beni basin, the paper said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>After the deadly Andes flood in the 1940s that region was sort of a leader in working on glacial flood outburst threats, but in the last decade or so, High Mountain Asia has taken over because of the high population, said University of Dayton geology professor Umesh Haritashya, who wasn't part of the studies.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>India ranks high in the threat list not so much because of the physical setup but because of a huge number of people downstream.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Three lake basins in the United States and Canada rank high for threats, from the Pacific Northwest to Alaska, but aren't nearly as high as areas in Asia and the Andes with few people in the danger zone. They are in Alaska's Kenai Peninsula distinct from the Mendenhall glacier near Juneau northeast Washington and west central British Columbia.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This ranking is a good checklist for further research, said Oliver Korup of the University of Potsdam in Germany, who co-authored the list of glacial lake outburst floods.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>(AP)&nbsp;</p> Wed Feb 08 16:09:10 IST 2023 google-announces-ai-tool--bard--to-counter-chatgpt <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Tech giant Google has come out with an answer to counter OpenAI's ChatGPT</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced an AI-powered chatbot called Google Bard in a blog post and explained some of its basic functions. Google has also announced new AI tools for its current search engine.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Pichai announced the experimental conversational AI service will be available to the public in a few weeks after it has been used by 'trusted testers'. They will test the tooland help improve it to make it user friendly. 'We're excited for this phase of testing to help us continue to learn and improve Bard's quality and speed,' Pichai wrote in his blog.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Bard seeks to combine the breadth of the world's knowledge with the power, intelligence, and creativity of our large language models,&quot; wrote Google boss Sundar Pichai in a blog.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Google has been conducting AI research for the past six years. Google Bard is built on Google's Language Model for Dialog Applications (LaMDA).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>'Bard seeks to combine the breadth of the world’s knowledge with the power, intelligence and creativity of our large language models,' Pichai wrote in the blog post.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Soon, you'll see AI-powered features in Search that distil complex information and multiple perspectives into easy-to-digest formats, so you can quickly understand the big picture and learn more from the web,&quot; wrote Google CEO.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>ChatGPT can understand human language and can respond to a large range of questions. The bot can conduct conversations with humans and is capabale of giving a definite answer based on its searches tromenormous database of knowledge from the internet. But the negative aspect is that it may also include offensive material and disinformation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>ChatGPT, trained on a gigantic sample of text from the internet, can understand human language, conduct conversations with humans and generate detailed text that many have said is human-like and quite impressive. The bot can be used for digital marketing, answering customer service queries and also to create online content.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>ChatGPT, trained using a machine learning technique called Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback (RLHF), can also write articles, essays, speeches and songs. The AI tool is helpful for knowldge seekers since it can synthese insights for questions partilcualrly where there's no one right answer.&nbsp;</p> Tue Feb 07 16:42:05 IST 2023 the-microplastics-time-bomb-in-our-bodies <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Researchers are increasingly worried about microplastics - plastic particles smaller than 5 millimetres across - and if they can damage human health. Studies show they are widespread in our environment - in everyday products in homes and offices; in oceans, rivers, the soil and even in rain over cities.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Over time, people ingest or inhale more of these chemicals than they expel, a process that leads to bioaccumulation in bodies. These specks are small enough to enter our cells or tissues and their toxicity may cause diseases.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A recent analysis identified more than 10,000 unique chemicals used in plastics, many not properly regulated globally.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And research shows we might be ingesting anywhere from dozens to more than 100,000 microplastic particles each day depending on what we consume and the amounts.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Microplastics have now been found in fish, deep inside the lungs of surgical patients and in the blood of anonymous donors and breast milk.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While there have been no epidemiologic studies confirming a link between exposure to microplastics and impacts on health, researchers point out chemicals found in plastic have been linked to a range of health problems including cancer, heart disease, obesity and poor foetal development.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>High levels of microplastics in our bodies may also cause cell damage. ... there is overwhelming consensus among all stakeholders that microplastics do not belong in the environment and measures should be taken to mitigate exposure, says the World Health Organization.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>How worried should we be about microplastics in our bodies? What is the current state of research and what are the challenges faced by experts in the field? And what solutions can we start to employ now to mitigate more extensive hazards both known and unknown?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>REALITY CHECK</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The consumption of micro and nano plastics represents a health risk that could be irreversible', researchers say in a warning about the pollution. Humans take in five grams of plastic particles each week - about the weight of a credit card.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In Sri Lanka, researchers found that people are exposed to airborne microplastic particles which are between 1 and 28 times higher indoors compared to outdoor environments.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Plastics in livestock feed result in microplastics in the meat and dairy we consume every day. Scientists detected plastic particles in 18 of 25 milk samples tested in the Netherlands and in some seven out of eight beef samples.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Microplastics can transform other pollutants into a more harmful form. Microplastic-contaminated UV filters used in cosmetic products, for example, make chromium metal more toxic.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>(;</p> Mon Feb 06 18:14:31 IST 2023 advanced-ai-is-exciting--but-incredibly-dangerous-in-criminals-- <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The generative AI industry will be worth about AUD 22 trillion by 2030, according to the CSIRO. These systems of which ChatGPT is currently the best known can write essays and code, generate music and artwork, and have entire conversations. But what happens when they're turned to illegal uses?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Last week, the streaming community was rocked by a headline that links back to the misuse of generative AI. Popular Twitch streamer Atrioc issued an apology video, teary eyed, after being caught viewing pornography with the superimposed faces of other women streamers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The deepfake technology needed to Photoshop a celebrity's head on a porn actor's body has been around for a while, but recent advances have made it much harder to detect.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And that's the tip of the iceberg. In the wrong hands, generative AI could do untold damage. There's a lot we stand to lose, should laws and regulation fail to keep up.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>From controversy to outright crime</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Last month, generative AI app Lensa came under fire for allowing its system to create fully nude and hyper-sexualised images from users' headshots. Controversially, it also whitened the skin of women of colour and made their features more European.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The backlash was swift. But what's relatively overlooked is the vast potential to use artistic generative AI in scams. At the far end of the spectrum, there are reports of these tools being able to fake fingerprints and facial scans (the method most of us use to lock our phones).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Criminals are quickly finding new ways to use generative AI to improve the frauds they already perpetrate. The lure of generative AI in scams comes from its ability to find patterns in large amounts of data.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Cybersecurity has seen a rise in bad bots: malicious automated programs that mimic human behaviour to conduct crime. Generative AI will make these even more sophisticated and difficult to detect.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ever received a scam text from the tax office claiming you had a refund waiting? Or maybe you got a call claiming a warrant was out for your arrest?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In such scams, generative AI could be used to improve the quality of the texts or emails, making them much more believable. For example, in recent years we've seen AI systems being used to impersonate important figures in voice spoofing attacks.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Then there are romance scams, where criminals pose as romantic interests and ask their targets for money to help them out of financial distress. These scams are already widespread and often lucrative. Training AI on actual messages between intimate partners could help create a scam chatbot that's indistinguishable from a human.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Generative AI could also allow cybercriminals to more selectively target vulnerable people. For instance, training a system on information stolen from major companies, such as in the Optus or Medibank hacks last year, could help criminals target elderly people, people with disabilities, or people in financial hardship.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Further, these systems can be used to improve computer code, which some cybersecurity experts say will make malware and viruses easier to create and harder to detect for antivirus software.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The technology is here, and we aren't prepared</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Australia's and New Zealand's governments have published frameworks relating to AI, but they aren't binding rules. Both countries' laws relating to privacy, transparency and freedom from discrimination aren't up to the task, as far as AI's impact is concerned. This puts us behind the rest of the world.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The US has had a legislated National Artificial Intelligence Initiative in place since 2021. And since 2019 it has been illegal in California for a bot to interact with users for commerce or electoral purposes without disclosing it's not human.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The European Union is also well on the way to enacting the world's first AI law. The AI Act bans certain types of AI programs posing unacceptable risk such as those used by China's social credit system and imposes mandatory restrictions on high risk systems.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Although asking ChatGPT to break the law results in warnings that planning or carrying out a serious crime can lead to severe legal consequences, the fact is there's no requirement for these systems to have a moral code programmed into them.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There may be no limit to what they can be asked to do, and criminals will likely figure out workarounds for any rules intended to prevent their illegal use. Governments need to work closely with the cybersecurity industry to regulate generative AI without stifling innovation, such as by requiring ethical considerations for AI programs.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Australian government should use the upcoming Privacy Act review to get ahead of potential threats from generative AI to our online identities. Meanwhile, New Zealand's Privacy, Human Rights and Ethics Framework is a positive step.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We also need to be more cautious as a society about believing what we see online, and remember that humans are traditionally bad at being able to detect fraud.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Can you spot a scam?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As criminals add generative AI tools to their arsenal, spotting scams will only get trickier. The classic tips will still apply. But beyond those, we'll learn a lot from assessing the ways in which these tools fall short.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Generative AI is bad at critical reasoning and conveying emotion. It can even be tricked into giving wrong answers. Knowing when and why this happens could help us develop effective methods to catch cybercriminals using AI for extortion.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There are also tools being developed to detect AI outputs from tools such as ChatGPT. These could go a long way towards preventing AI-based cybercrime if they prove to be effective.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>(The Conversation)&nbsp;</p> Mon Feb 06 14:58:17 IST 2023