News

Voyager 1’s Density Measurements Are Making Waves | NASA

Via NASA here. This is just so fucking cool. Think about this. The Voyager probes, launched in the damn 70’s(!), have been travelling through our Solar System (and beyond) for almost two generations now. The observations that they have beamed back across the void have changed the way we look at space several times over. Understanding how we got here is understanding where we go ahead, and that’s why space science and exploration are so, so important. With all the glitz, glamour, and outright bullshit surrounding Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos as “pioneers” of space exploration, let’s not forget who’s been on the ground, doing the work for over 50 years. There are a lot of hard working grad students, scientists, engineers, technical staff, fabrication specialists, etc that have been doing this since before it was cool. And they will (hopefully) still be doing it when the current dust settles, so to speak. Probes like the Voyagers, and Cassini, and exploration missions like Mars 2021. This is how we advance things, by going places we haven’t before.

CTV News Toronto: Ontario teen dies with COVID-19 on same day he was admitted to hospital

Hit the article here. I don’t even know what I can say about this, aside from it’s still going to get worse before it gets better. The real tragedy is that this situation would have been completely preventable if proper precautions had been taken sooner, as the Ontario government had been advised to do. On multiple occasions. Our Premier should be charged with manslaughter for every single COVID death in this province.

Amazon Fake Reviews Scam Exposed in Data Breach

If you didn’t know already, now you do – Don’t trust Amazon reviews. Also, if you’re going to engage in nefarious activity, you should a) not keep a digital record of all info about nefarious activity; and b) passphrase protect EVERYTHING. This is truly bush league stuff.

Source: Amazon Fake Reviews Scam Exposed in Data Breach

Maxime Bernier uttered racist slur about Jagmeet Singh, according to statement filed in court

Via CBC News here. Really, all this boils down to is put Bernier, Kinsella, et al on an island, let them “Lord of the Flies” it for a while (televised, of course), then let Singh hit the button to firebomb said island. What absolute fucking clowns.

NVIDIA Updates GeForce RTX 3060 Ethereum Throttle; Updated Drivers Required For Future 3060s

Via Anandtech here. Full disclosure, I used to have a stake in Ethereum mining, but got out around late 2019. Now, having gotten that aside, as much as I hate corporations dictating what a consumer can do with their product, I’m pretty inline with this decision. The cryptomining market has exploded over the past two years, and Ethereum is one of the biggest players, with a market cap of $400 billion (as of this writing via CoinMarketCap), and is second only to Bitcoin. Not only has this constrained the market for GPU’s above 4GB (the current VRAM size needed to hold the Ethereum DAG in memory), but it has put a fantastic toll on the power system. As more people come on board the crypto train, the more power usage goes up. And not a small amount of power, either. A report from the BBC this past Feb estimated that global cryptomining power usage was roughly equal to that of the country of Argentina. As well, this is a failure on the part of the GPU producers to step up to the market to produce cards specifically for mining (although NVIDIA is off to a good start with it’s CMP HX line). Hopefully, this will ease the current GPU shortage a bit, but I foresee these hash-limited 3060 cards to fetch a premium, at least at release.

Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger Life Cycle Assessment: A Detailed Comparison Between a Plant-Based and an Animal-Based Protein Source

Full study here via the U Michigan Center for Sustainability Studies. From the abstract:

Based on a comparative assessment of the current Beyond Burger production system with the 2017 beef LCA by Thoma et al, the Beyond Burger generates 90% less greenhouse gas emissions, requires 46% less energy, has >99% less impact on water scarcity and 93% less impact on land use than a ¼ pound of U.S. beef.

Full disclosure, I have some skin in the game on this one, as a rather large chunk of my family depends of cattle farming for their livelihood. Having said that, the facts of the matter are that raising cattle for as a protein source remains an extremely land and resource-heavy operation, and is generally not practiced with full thought to the environmental consequences. In its current form, the cattle industry (at least, the North American cattle industry) is unsustainable due to both its impact on available natural resources, as well as the rising price of beef (and animal proteins in general) driving customers toward plant-based alternatives.

How many COVID-19 vaccines can Ontario administer per day? We did the math

Via CBC News here. My favourite pull quote – “Bogoch (Dr Issac Bogoch – member of the Ontario vaccine distribution task force) said he finds it difficult to comment on the 500,000 figure mentioned by Williams (Dr David Williams – Chief Medical Officer for the province of Ontario) because he isn’t sure where that number came from.” This is just one of the multitude of issues that are contributing to the explosion of COVID cases in Ontario – the right hand has literally no idea what the left hand is doing, nor any idea why. This failure to communicate effectively between branches of government, and the unwillingness of our current tranche of absolute buffoons in power to do literally any one thing that would possibly piss off their corporate donors, is killing people every day.

US backs waiver on COVID vaccine patents to boost supply

Article via BBC News here. The fact that this is even up for discussion, in the middle of a worldwide pandemic that is literally killing millions and overloading the medical support systems of more countries everyday, is utterly appalling. Even more so is that the investment funds that hold shares in Moderna, Pfizer, etc would see this as, first and foremost, a danger to their bottom line, as opposed to a chance to actually do their civic duty. Capitalism is completely fucked, and is now straining under the weight of the societal problems it has caused.