Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for February 7th, 2017

Stanford students recreated a 5,000-year-old Chinese beer

Posted by kenmay on February - 7 - 2017

Homebrewing is a niche hobby today, but before the industrialization of the industry, a lot of beer was made in people’s kitchens. Li Liu, a professor in Chinese archaeology at Stanford, was part of a team that recently discovered a 5, 000-year-old beer recipe that she figured could be recreated at home. The process was approachable enough for students in her Archaeology of Food: Production, Consumption and Ritual course to make in the classroom, so that’s what they did. The recipe, found during research that presents the earliest known evidence of beer production in China, consists primarily of grains like millet and barley, as well as Job’s tears (a type of grass native to southeast Asia) and traces of yam and lily root. The concoction produced is thicker than modern beers, and one student said it had “a pleasant fruity smell and a citrus taste, similar to a cider.” Liu said she was surprised to find that barley was part of the recipe, since the earliest evidence of barley seeds in China dates back to about 4, 000 years ago. This could mean that barley was first brought to China for alcoholic uses, rather than other food purposes. “Archaeology is not just about reading books and analyzing artifacts, ” Liu said . “Trying to imitate ancient behavior and make things with the ancient method helps students really put themselves into the past and understand why people did what they did.” Ancient drinks have captured the imaginations of many consumers and enthusiasts, which is why breweries like Dogfish Head make their own throwback beverages based on the traditions of yesteryear. For those wanting to learn more about the process, watch Liu explain the process in the video below. Source: Stanford

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How "I’m not a Robot" checkboxes work

Posted by kenmay on February - 7 - 2017

Zuck That says, “Have you ever been on the Internet when you came across a checkbox that says “I’m not a robot?” In this video, I explain how those checkboxes (No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHAs) work as well as why they exist in the first place.” I mention CAPTCHA farms briefly, but the idea behind them is pretty straightforward. If a company wants to create an automatic computer program to buy 1,000 tickets to an event or make 1,000 email accounts, they can make a script that fills out the form one at a time, and when the program gets to a CAPTCHA, it will send a picture of it to a CAPTCHA farm where a low-wage worker will solve it and send the answer back to the computer program so that it can be used to finish filling out the form.

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(credit: Google Brain) Google Brain has devised some new software that can create detailed images from tiny, pixelated source images. Google’s software, in short, basically means the “zoom in… now enhance!” TV trope is actually possible. (credit: Google Brain) First, take a look at the image on the right. The left column contains the pixelated 8×8 source images, and the centre column shows the images that Google Brain’s software was able to create from those source images. For comparison, the real images are shown in the right column. As you can see, the software seemingly extracts an amazing amount of detail from just 64 source pixels. Of course, as we all know, it’s impossible to create more detail than there is in the source image—so how does Google Brain do it? With a clever combination of two neural networks. Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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This maglev quadcopter hints at transportation’s future

Posted by kenmay on February - 7 - 2017

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCON4zfMzjU Hyperloop One engineers demonstrate the power of maglev using spinning arrays atop a copper plate. Despite weighing over 100 pounds, the gadget floats and could hold considerably more weight. (more…)

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An anonymous reader quotes a report from Quartz: Nearly 1% of carbon emissions annually can be attributed to paper production, even though we recycle much of the paper we produce. Yadong Yin has a solution. He and his colleagues at the University of California at Riverside have invented a type of paper that can be printed on using just light, erased by heating, and reused up to 80 times. Yin created nanoparticles, which are a million times smaller than the thickness of human hair, with the dye Prussian blue, or its chemical analogues, and titanium oxide, which is commonly used in white wall paint. This mixture is then applied to normal paper. When the coating is exposed to ultraviolet light, electrons from titanium oxide move to the dye in the nanoparticle. This addition of electrons makes the blue dye turn white. Focusing the ultraviolet light into shapes, you can print white words on a blue background — or blue words on a white background, which are easier to read. If left alone, the paper reverts to its original state in five days. That process can be accelerated by heating the paper to 120 C (250 F) for 10 minutes. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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neutrino38 writes: The French presidential election is approaching fast. One of the candidates, Jean-Luc Melanchon, used a hologram to hold two public meetings at once. With a political program that is mostly socialist and very left leaning, some people pointed out that he used private innovation to stand out from the crowd. Reuters notes that this is “not the first politician to employ such technology, ” adding that “in 2014, then-Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan used a huge hologram of himself to attract wider support, while India’s Narendra Modi trounced the opposition with a campaign that included holograms of his speeches in villages across the country.” You can watch part of one of Melanchon’s virtual meetings here. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Yeah yeah, you knew all along. Whatever, I’ll self-own with this post, I’ve already taken nothing but Ls over the last year. Read more…

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Western Digital Unveils First-Ever 512Gb 64-Layer 3D NAND Chip

Posted by kenmay on February - 7 - 2017

BrianFagioli quotes a report from BetaNews: As great as these solid state drives are now, they are only getting better. For example, SATA-based SSDs were once viewed as miraculous, but they are now looked at as slow — PCIe-based NVMe drives are all the rage. To highlight the steady evolution of flash storage, Western Digital today unveiled the first-ever 512 gigabit 64-layer 3D NAND chip. “The launch of the industry’s first 512Gb 64-layer 3D NAND chip is another important stride forward in the advancement of our 3D NAND technology, doubling the density from when we introduced the world’s first 64-layer architecture in July 2016. This is a great addition to our rapidly broadening 3D NAND technology portfolio. It positions us well to continue addressing the increasing demand for storage due to rapid data growth across a wide range of customer retail, mobile and data center applications, ” says Dr. Siva Sivaram, executive vice president, memory technology, Western Digital. Western Digital further explains that it did not develop this new technology on its own. The company shares, “The 512Gb 64-layer chip was developed jointly with the company’s technology and manufacturing partner Toshiba. Western Digital first introduced initial capacities of the world’s first 64-layer 3D NAND technology in July 2016 and the world’s first 48-layer 3D NAND technology in 2015; product shipments with both technologies continue to retail and OEM customers.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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