Saturday, February 24, 2024

Short Takes – 2-24-24

Odysseus moon lander is tipped over — but sending data. article. Pull quote: ““In normal software development for spacecraft, this is the kind of thing that would have taken a month of writing down the math, cross-checking it with your colleagues, doing some simple calculations to prove the theory by putting it into a simulation, running that simulation 10,000 times evaluating performance,” Crain said. “Our team basically did that in an hour and a half. And it worked.””

The New Hot Climate Investment Is Heat Itself. article. Pull quote: “Heat-battery startups say they can cheaply store days worth of renewable energy with a different approach. To charge, Antora’s batteries run renewable electricity through an element comparable to a toaster coil to warm up the blocks. The company settled on the carbon blocks because they can store heat for a long time, and actually get better at storing energy as they get hotter. That allows them to maintain high temperatures for long periods when heat or steam needs to be used.”

Information Collection Requirement; Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement; Assessing Contractor Implementation of Cybersecurity Requirements. Federal Register DAR 60-day ICR renewal. ICR need statement: “The collection of information is necessary for DoD to assess where vulnerabilities exist in its supply chain and take steps to correct such deficiencies. In addition, the collection of information is necessary to ensure Defense Industrial Base (DIB) contractors that have not fully implemented the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication (SP) 800–171 security requirements pursuant to the clause at DFARS 252.204–7012 begin correcting these deficiencies immediately.” ICR comments due by April 26th, 2024.

Dual Use Foundation Artificial Intelligence Models With Widely Available Model Weights. Federal Register NTIA request for comments. Summary: “On October 30, 2023, President Biden issued an Executive order on “Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence,” which directed the Secretary of Commerce, acting through the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, and in consultation with the Secretary of State, to conduct a public consultation process and issue a report on the potential risks, benefits, other implications, and appropriate policy and regulatory approaches to dual-use foundation models for which the model weights are widely available. Pursuant to that Executive order, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) hereby issues this Request for Comment on these issues. Responses received will be used to submit a report to the President on the potential benefits, risks, and implications of dual-use foundation models for which the model weights are widely available, as well as policy and regulatory recommendations pertaining to those models.” Comments due by March 27th, 2024.

Chemical Weapons Watchdog Blames Islamic State for 2015 Syria Attack. article. Pull quote: “There were "reasonable grounds to believe that on 1 September 2015, during sustained attacks aimed at capturing the town of Marea, units of ISIL deployed sulfur mustard," the organisation said.”

History repeats? Why Chinese companies are establishing private armies. article. Pull quote: “The People’s Armed Forces are expected to be available for missions like support during wartime, operations during national disasters and helping maintain social order, according to a report by CNN. Another report by FT says that these private armies carry out civil defence activities and contribute to military recruitment, promotion and training.”

A New Startup Wants to Turn the Sugar You Eat Into Fiber. article. Just what we need and excuse to eat more sugar (SIGH). Pull quote: “The enzyme Zya is developing comes from a family called inulosucrases, and is naturally made by a strain of bacteria found in the human microbiome that’s capable of converting sugar to fiber in the gut environment. This enzyme acts on sugar before it can be broken down and absorbed by the body. It works by rearranging sugar molecules into inulin fiber, a type of soluble fiber found in plants such as chicory root that fosters the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.”

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