Is Carbon Capture Here?

“Is carbon capture here?” asks a headline from the New York Times.

A Swiss company named Climeworks “is operating a device in Iceland that sucks CO2 from the air and shoots it into the ground, where it turns into rock.”

[Stephan] Hitz and his small team of technicians are running Orca, the world’s biggest commercial direct air capture (DAC) device, which in September began pulling carbon dioxide out of the air at a site 20 miles from the capital, Reykjavik.

As the wind stirred up clouds of steam billowing from the nearby Hellisheidi geothermal power plant, a gentle hum came from Orca, which resembles four massive air-conditioners, each the size of one shipping container sitting on top of another. Each container holds 12 large round fans powered by renewable electricity from the geothermal plant, which suck air into steel catchment boxes where carbon dioxide or CO2, the main greenhouse gas behind global warming, chemically bonds with a sandlike filtering substance.

When heat is applied to that filtering substance it releases the CO2, which is then mixed with water by an Icelandic company called Carbfix to create a drinkable fizzy water. Several other firms are striving to pull carbon from the air in the United States and elsewhere, but only here in the volcanic plateaus of Iceland is the CO2 being turned into that sparkling cocktail and injected several hundred meters down into basalt bedrock.

Carbfix has discovered that its CO2 mix will chemically react with basalt and turn to rock in just two or three years instead of the centuries that the mineralization process was believed to take, so it takes the CO2 that Climeworks’ DAC captures and pumps it into the ground through wells protected from the harsh environment by steel igloos that could easily serve as props in a space movie. It is a permanent solution, unlike the planting of forests which can release their carbon by rotting, being cut down or burning in a warming planet. Even the CO2 that other firms are planning to inject into empty oil and gas fields could eventually leak out, some experts fear, but once carbon turns to rock it is not going anywhere.

Orca is billed as the world’s first commercial DAC unit because the 4,000 metric tons of CO2 it can extract each year have been paid for by 8,000 people who have subscribed online to remove some carbon, and by firms including Stripe, Swiss Re, Audi and Microsoft. The rock band Coldplay recently joined those companies in paying Climeworks for voluntary carbon credits to offset some of their own emissions.

The firm hopes to one day turn a profit by getting its costs below the selling price of those credits.
Current cost: about $600 to $800 per metric ton.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Is Carbon Capture Here?

Relics From A Future Past

Of the thousands of Fine Art posts we’ve run over the last decade, nearly every single one of them has focused on the digital world, whether they be lavish environmental sketches or 3D models made for a video game. Tonight, I figured we could do with a break, and look at something a little more real.

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Source: Kotaku – Relics From A Future Past

New World Bug Let You Kick Other Players Just By Chatting With Them

New World’s launch has been plagued by a bunch of weird, sometimes catastrophic bugs, but this latest is one of the strangest I’ve ever seen: it let you kick other players out of the game just by sending them certain messages.

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Source: Kotaku – New World Bug Let You Kick Other Players Just By Chatting With Them

Leaked Documents Reveal Facebook is Targeting Children as Young as 6

“Internal documents show that Facebook has been actively hiring employees to build products that target children as young as 6 to expand its user base,” reports NBC News — apparently within just the last six months.

“Our company is making a major investment…” begins an internal Facebook blog post seen by NBC. The blog post announces that the company was dedicating a team “to make safer, more private, experiences for youth…” It goes on to point out this marked a new direction for Facebook, since “For many of our products, we historically haven’t designed for under 13.”

Further down the post adds that “Our work prioritizes the best interests of the child…”
Diagrams illustrate proposed new target age groups, ranging from kids 6 to 9 years old and tweens 10 to 12 years old — along with existing targets of early teens from 13 to 15 years old, late teens from 16 to 17 years old, and adults… Critics of the company say these documents are part of a long-standing pattern of Facebook attempting to attract younger users as early as possible.

“Facebook and Instagram have repeatedly shown that they simply can’t be trusted when it comes to the well-being of children and teens,” said James Steyer, the founder and CEO of Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization that researches the relationship between children and the digital world. “They need to focus on cleaning up their existing platforms instead of trying to hook more children to their addictive platforms at younger and younger ages….”

The post came just one week before a coalition of 35 organizations and 64 individual experts, coordinated by Fairplay, formerly known as the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a Boston-based nonprofit, raised concerns about privacy, screen time, mental health, self-esteem and commercial pressure in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
“These documents make clear that instead of working to make its existing platforms less harmful to teens, Facebook’s priority was to ensnare younger children and create a pipeline of lifetime users of Facebook products,” Fairplay’s executive director Josh Golin told NBC News. “Despite Facebook’s claims that their motivation for Instagram for Kids is to create a safer experience for preteens, it’s clear the real reason is Facebook is fixated on kids to drive growth. Facebook products aren’t safe for younger children, and a company that consistently puts profits ahead of young people’s well-being has no business building platforms for kids.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Leaked Documents Reveal Facebook is Targeting Children as Young as 6

Bitcoin White Paper's 13th Anniversary Celebrated with Decentralized Pizza (and Gilbert Gottfried)

Today the iconic Bitcoin white paper “celebrates thirteen years of financial disruption,” notes Cointelegraph, “after being first published on Oct. 31, 2008, by an anonymous person or entity named Satoshi Nakamoto.” (Here’s a 2013 story from Slashdot about version 0.3.)
Cointelegraph writes:

The white paper, titled Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System, foresaw the need for a peer-to-peer online payment system that is self-governing, secure and limited in quantity. The Bitcoin network was launched on Jan. 3, 2009, with each Bitcoin priced at $0.0008…. Today, Bitcoin maintains a stable trading value well above $60k after experiencing a gradual appreciation of 7,749,999,900% since its launch.

Cointelegraph celebrated the anniversary by embedding a video of the original bitcoin white paper being read by comedian Gilbert Gottfried — but they weren’t the only ones. Entrepreneur/investor Anthony Pompliano celebrated with the return of what he describes as a decentralized pizzeria” named Bitcoin pizza. (An interactive online map shows participating locations around the U.S.A. where pizzas can be ordered with cash or with 0.0003 BTC — either through the web site or through the Uber Eats app.)

“If you want to pay for your pizza in bitcoin, I will gladly take your bitcoin,” Pompliano says in a video posted to Twitter. “I don’t think that you should use your bitcoin to buy the pizza — but we now accept bitcoin.” The five available topping combos even have bitcoin-themed names like “No Keys, No Cheese” and “Satoshi’s Favorite” — and the pizzas are all delivered in a special commemorative bitcoin-themed pizza box. “Every single dollar that I make from this, I donate to bitcoin developers,” Pompliano explains in the video. “I make zero dollars from Bitcoin Pizza.”

“And we’re going to keep building this until eventually we are the single largest independent pizza chain in the United States. And then after we become the single largest independent pizza chain in the United States, we’re going to turn around, and then we’re going to go international.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Bitcoin White Paper’s 13th Anniversary Celebrated with Decentralized Pizza (and Gilbert Gottfried)

The 5.15 kernel has been released

Linus has released the 5.15 kernel after
another nine-week development cycle.

This release may have started out with some -Werror pain, but it
calmed down fairly quickly and on the whole 5.15 was fair small and
calm. Let’s hope for more of the same – without Werror issues this
time – for the upcoming merge window.

The code name for this release has been set to “Trick or Treat”.

Significant features in this release include:
the realtime
preemption locking code
descriptorless files for io_uring,
BPF timers,
the removal of mandatory file-locking support,
the ksmbd SMB filesystem server (but see this
printk() indexing,
the process_mrelease() system
The DAMON memory-management optimization
the ntfs3 filesystem implementation,
and much more. See the
KernelNewbies 5.15 page
for more information.

Source: – The 5.15 kernel has been released

Roblox comes back online after three-day outage

Roblox is finally returning to normal after a nearly three-day outage. The gaming platform’s developer said it was “incrementally” bringing regions back to service after having pinpointed the cause roughly three hours earlier. The company had a possible candidate on October 30th, but didn’t narrow it down until a day later.

The company didn’t detail the cause, but had previously ruled out particular “experiences or partnerships.” Some had blame the outage on a Chipotle promo that launched half an hour before the failure took place on the evening of October 28th.

Whatever the reason for the outage, it may have had a lasting effect. Roblox has over 40 million daily users, and has been home to major concerts in recent months. That could leave more than a few frustrated kids, not to mention parents and creators wondering about the long-term reliability of the platform.

Source: Engadget – Roblox comes back online after three-day outage

Luigi Finally Gets His Lego Due With Luigi's Mansion Sets

Nintendo puts the spotlight on Mario so much that when they turn their eye to his younger brother Luigi, it makes those moments shine all the brighter. So it goes with Lego: as of a couple months ago, the green plumber has his own Super Mario Starter Course, and now he’s getting some sets all to himself. Well, and the…

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Source: Gizmodo – Luigi Finally Gets His Lego Due With Luigi’s Mansion Sets

Astronomers may have spotted a planet in another galaxy for the first time

The hunt for exoplanets is venturing beyond the Milky Way. Astronomers using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory have detected what might be the first signs of a planet in another galaxy. The team noticed dips in X-ray brightness that hint at a planet transiting in front of a star in the Messier 51 (aka M51) galaxy 28 million light-years away. For context, all the exoplanet candidates in the Milky Way are no more than 3,000 light-years from Earth — this planet would easily set a distance record if confirmed.

The very nature of stars made the feat possible. As the researchers had to focus on X-ray bright binary systems where the region of bright rays is relatively tiny, the transit was considerably easier to spot. Conventional detection of nearby stars requires much more sensitive light detection, as a planet might only block a small amount of light from a given star.

The planet itself is believed to be as large as Saturn, but would orbit its hosts (a star 20 times the mass of the Sun as well as a black hole or neutron star) at twice the distance.

Scientists didn’t believe the dimming was due to gas clouds or dust, as those aren’t consistent with the event they recorded in M51. A planet, however, would line up with the data.

The challenge, as you might guess, is verifying that data. The planet’s large orbit could rule out another transit for roughly 70 years, and it wouldn’t be clear exactly when astronomers would have to take a look. The three-hour transit of this planet candidate didn’t provide a large window. That’s also assuming the ‘living’ star doesn’t explode and bathe the planet in radiation.

If there’s ever a confirmation, though, the discovery would be very significant. While there aren’t many doubts that planets exist in other galaxies, it would be useful to have evidence of their existence. This could also significantly widen the scope of future planetary searches to include the galactic neighborhood, not just close-by stars.

Source: Engadget – Astronomers may have spotted a planet in another galaxy for the first time

Apple's Privacy Policy Cost Snap, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube an Estimated $9.85 Billion in Revenue

With its App Tracking Transparency policy launched in April, Apple overhauled its iPhone lineup’s privacy settings to give users more control over their data. That decision cost Snap, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube an estimated $9.85 billion in lost revenue in the second half of this year, the Financial Times reports.

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Source: Gizmodo – Apple’s Privacy Policy Cost Snap, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube an Estimated .85 Billion in Revenue

Europol Captures 12 Suspects Believed to Have Used Ransomware to Attack 1,800 Victims in 71 Countries

The fight against ransomware attacks continues, this time on the other side of the Atlantic. Following a two-year investigation, Europol announced this week that it had captured 12 individuals in various criminal organizations who were “wreaking havoc across the world” by launching ransomware attacks on critical…

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Source: Gizmodo – Europol Captures 12 Suspects Believed to Have Used Ransomware to Attack 1,800 Victims in 71 Countries

US Copyright Office Broadens Exemptions for Repairing Consumer Devices

The U.S. Copyright Office “is expanding a legal shield for fixing digital devices,” reports the Verge, “including cars and medical devices.”

Earlier this week the office “submitted new exemptions to Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which bars breaking software copy protection. The resulting rules include a revamped section on device repair, reflecting renewed government pressure around ‘right to repair’ issues.”

[T]his latest rulemaking adopts repair-related proposals from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, iFixit, and other organizations. The Librarian of Congress adopted the recommendations in a final rule that will take effect [Thursday].

The exemptions replace an itemized list of repairable devices with broad protections for any consumer devices that rely on software to function, as well as land and sea vehicles and medical devices that aren’t consumer-focused. The rulemaking doesn’t rewrite the exemption to cover all non-consumer devices, and it doesn’t cover all “modification,” only “diagnosis, maintenance, and repair.” For video game consoles specifically, repair only covers repairing the device’s optical drives and requires reenabling any technological protection measures that were circumvented afterward.

The Verge notes that Acting General Counsel Kevin Amer told reports the exemption should prove useful, adding that their decision had been influenced by an earlier executive order from the Biden administration supporting third-party and consumer repair work. The article also notes other U.S. agencies are also moving on the issue. “The Federal Trade Commission, for instance, has pledged to fight business practices that lock out independent repair shops.

“This copyright rulemaking doesn’t address those practices, but it helps lift a legal threat hanging over technicians and consumers.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – US Copyright Office Broadens Exemptions for Repairing Consumer Devices

Fantastic Looking Bloodborne PS1 Demake Is Out January 31

Sure, we still don’t have a PC port of Bloodborne, but next year folks will finally be able to play Bloodborne PSX, a fan-made demake of the first section of Bloodborne, complete with boss fights and more. A new trailer released today revealed it’s out for free on January 31, 2022.

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Source: Kotaku – Fantastic Looking Bloodborne PS1 Demake Is Out January 31

October Was a Pretty Good Month for Movies

We’ve covered weekend box offices for the month of October pretty extensively. It was hard not to with big tentpoles like Venom, Dune, and Halloween Kills, and it seems to have paid off in the long run, because domestically, things were the best they’ve been for theaters in a fairly long time.

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Source: Gizmodo – October Was a Pretty Good Month for Movies