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How Curved Spacetime Can Be Created In a Quantum Optics Lab

quax Best summary of this result (89 comments)

Really excellent succinct and easy to follow summary.

And that on /. of all places, where article summaries usual go to die.

3 days ago
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Elon Musk Hints 1st Person To Mars May Go Via New Brownsville Spaceport

quax Backup Plan? (91 comments)

Many CEOs have emergency plans for a retirement out of reach from shareholder class action suits, but this seems a bit excessive.

about a month ago
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How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

quax Maybe instead of ranting about it ... (795 comments)

... how about starting a blog where you try to make science more accessible to lay people.

about a month ago
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Why You Can't Manufacture Like Apple

quax 20 meter holes ... cool (408 comments)

20 m holes in aluminum ... with a LASER! And Apple bought the company,

iDefense is going to be awesome and really sleek looking.

about a month ago
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Artificial Spleen Removes Ebola, HIV Viruses and Toxins From Blood Using Magnets

quax "When antibiotics are used to kill them, ... (106 comments)

... , dying viruses release toxins ..." that quickly act on /. editors and make them forget the most basic biological facts.

about a month ago
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Hitachi Developing Reactor That Burns Nuclear Waste

quax Re:By far not the only design that does this. (200 comments)

One advantage that is purely political is that sub-critical reactors will be more political acceptable.

about a month and a half ago
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Hitachi Developing Reactor That Burns Nuclear Waste

quax Re:By far not the only design that does this. (200 comments)

Don't think accelerator reliability issues are much of a concern any more, the systems are pretty mature at this point. I see the many advantage in being able to produce tailored neutron energy spectrum to process as much waste as possible.

The latter is the main focus in my mind. Excess energy is just an added bonus. We need a process like this as burying the nuclear crap has become a politically untenable.

about a month and a half ago
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If Fusion Is the Answer, We Need To Do It Quickly

quax Re:We put all our eggs into the ITER basket. (305 comments)

You are barking up the wrong tree.

Of course there is no conspiracy and I very much appreciate that Jeff Bezos invests into General Fusion.

What I find problematic is that ITER crowds out other fusion research due to its cost overuns. For instance there are now only 1 1 1/2 positions allocated to the Shiva star device (a machine GF could put to good use for plasma compression experiments). This is just enough money to prevent a mothballing of the machine, but not enough to actually get some research done.

This is not conspiracy but just how the world works. As ITER absorbs more money the overall public budget doesn't grow, and government is too inflexible to allow for private partnership (especially with, god forbid, a Canadian company).

about a month ago
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If Fusion Is the Answer, We Need To Do It Quickly

quax Re:We put all our eggs into the ITER basket. (305 comments)

No one, and I mean no one, expects the Polywell will escape the Ritter issues.

Except those who continue working on it. Cusp confinement has been theorized but to my knowledge never experimentally confirmed until these results came in. They may very well be overoptimistic with regards to having any chance in approaching thermalization in the center of their reactor, but given that they now have an experiment going with fairly decent confinement it seems warranted to establish to what extend Ritter's concern will haunt this design.

Plasma dynamics are very difficult to model and while Ritter's conjecture is plausible it nevertheless makes some assumptions that may not hold in the actual experiment.

You may call this hand waving, but the best way to establish this is an actual experiment. This, after all, is also the way that science works.

about 2 months ago
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If Fusion Is the Answer, We Need To Do It Quickly

quax Re:We put all our eggs into the ITER basket. (305 comments)

Too funny. So you really did not look at the paper. Arxiv is a pre-print archive. The notion that these nine authors spanning two companies, one European university, Los Alamos and the US Navy will not manage to get this published in a per-reviewed journal is rather cute.

about 2 months ago
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If Fusion Is the Answer, We Need To Do It Quickly

quax Re:We put all our eggs into the ITER basket. (305 comments)

With regards to the Polywell design you clearly either have not read this paper, or must think they made up their results.

As to General Fusion, they are hardly the only ones looking into magnetized target fusion (just the most ambitious ones) - so I fail to see how you comment even applies there.

about 2 months ago
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The NSA's New Partner In Spying: Saudi Arabia's Brutal State Police

quax Re:And yet, .... (125 comments)

Saudi Arabia is a massive sponsor of ISIS.

about 3 months ago
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Malaysian Passenger Plane Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine

quax Re:Wait for it... (752 comments)

My comment was directed at the AC's phrasing:

"The UN got caught [theguardian.com] hiding Hamas missiles in one of the Gaza 'schools' they operate."

As to Hamas committing war crimes and terrorism, that's a dog bites man story, what's your point?

about 3 months ago
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Malaysian Passenger Plane Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine

quax Re:Wait for it... (752 comments)

Article states of the bat that it was a vacant UN sponsored school building. To spin this as the UN being complicit in hiding Hamas missiles displays some remarkably reading comprehension problems.

Maybe the UN should start sponsoring schools in the
US. Obviously the education system failed you.

about 3 months ago
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Malaysian Passenger Plane Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine

quax Re:Wow. Terrble Turn. (752 comments)

C'mon, the fact that this plane carried people from several nations who are completely uninvolved in the Ukraine mess is key here.

It's like bystanders getting killed in droves during a shootout with police. Changes the narrative.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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How Blogs are Changing the Scientific Discourse

quax quax writes  |  about 8 months ago

quax (19371) writes "Mainstream media always follows the same kind of 'He said she said" template, that is why even climate change deniers get their say, although they are a tiny minority. The leading science journals on the other hand are expensive and behind pay-walls. But it turns out there are places on the web where you can follow science up close and personal: The many personal blogs written by scientists — and the conversation there is changing the very nature of scientific debate."
Link to Original Source
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Google's Quantum Computer Cannot be Explained Classically

quax quax writes  |  about 9 months ago

quax (19371) writes "So writes the company that developed the machine on their blog. Admittedly, you would expect them to defend their architecture, but the founder of D-Wave, Geordie Rose, puts forward a compelling argument, that comes down to Occam's razor. The scientists who claim that the machine can be explained classically, as recently reported on slashdot, only base their model on the sub-set of data that they looked at in their research. But if you look at all the data amassed by D-Wave over time, only quantum annealing makes for a perfect fit.

They are not the only ones who argue that D-Wave's claims in this regard hold up. Independent research performed by Matthias Troyer et al. confirms that quantum annealing is the best model to describe the machines performance, but they don't see evidence for quantum speed-up yet. A recent video nicely summarizes their research findings."
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Inside General Fusion

quax quax writes  |  about 10 months ago

quax (19371) writes "Slashdot first reported on the Canadian start-up company that attempts piston powered nuclear fusion back in 2009. This new blog post takes a look at where they are now, and give some additional behind the scene info. For instance, a massive experimental rig for magnetized target fusion in the US is currently underutilized, because ITER's increasing cost absorbs all the public fusion research funding. Yet, because this Shiva Star device is located in an Air Force base, security restrictions prevent any meaningful cooperation with a none US company. Even if US researchers would love to rent this out in order to advance the science of magnetized target fusion, this is a no go.

Is this just security paranoia, or should the US preferably not use experimental facilities rather than allowing foreign companies to conduct experiments with them?"
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Is Science Destined to Follow a Hype Cycle?

quax quax writes  |  about a year ago

quax (19371) writes "The controversy to what extend Quantum Computing is over-hyped, has been supercharged with the recent success of D-Wave selling their version of a quantum computer. This caused a significant backlash from some researchers, who argue that the machine is not 'quantum' enough and doesn't conclusively demonstrate a speed-up over classical computing.

This kind of heated argument is part and parcel of the scientific discourse, yet often leads to abandonment cycles that see promising research avenues neglected, only to be rediscovered decades later. Is this inevitable? Simple human nature reasserting itself? Or is there a more rational way to determine where to focus research?"

Link to Original Source
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VC Funded Fusion Start-Up Set to Demonstrate Break-Even Net Gain This Year

quax quax writes  |  about a year ago

quax (19371) writes "If the company General Fusion succeeds in demonstrating the viability of their approach, the international ITER project will be pretty late to the party. Surprisingly this company managed to stick tightly to their development schedule in developing their reactor for Magnetized Target Fusion. This approach has never been tried at this scale, and it will be the first time to demonstrate net energy gain equivalent in this manner (the equivalent meaning, that if the pure deuterium mix in the test was replaced with one containing tritium you would get more power out than you put in).

The next big question will be if this can become commercially viable. The mechanical stresses the reactor will have to withstand are huge, so demonstrating that this can actually run continuously will be no small feat.
   "

Link to Original Source
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Major Quantum Information Technology Breakthroughs

quax quax writes  |  about a year and a half ago

quax (19371) writes "Within the same week two major Quantum Information Technology milestones where announced: The Los Alamos National Labs unveiled that they've been operating a scalable quantum encrypted network for the last two years (link to original paper).

There have been commercial quantum encryption devices on the market for quite some time now, but these have been limited to point to point connections. Having a protocol that allows the seamless integration of quantum cryptography into the existing network stack raises this to an entirely different level.

Just days after this news came the announcement that the company D-Wave, that claims to ship the first quantum computing device, aced a test when their machine was put into direct comparison with conventional hardware. It wasn't even close. For the class of problems that the D-Wave machine is designed for, the next best algorithm on a regular CPU performed several thousand times worse."
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A New, Untapped Physical Resource for Information Processing?

quax quax writes  |  about a year and a half ago

quax (19371) writes "In the most influential textbook on the matter Michael Nielsen and Isaac Chuang wrote:
"Quantum Computing and Quantum Information Science has taught us to think physically about computation. (...) Indeed in the broadest terms we have learned that any physical theory, not just quantum mechanics, may be used as the basis for a theory of information processing and communication."
This is exactly what the Kish Cypher Encryption protocol is doing by exploiting thermodynamics in an unexpected fashion. Could this become an easier to implement alternative to Quantum Cryptography, providing unhackable networks?"

Link to Original Source
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Physicists still confused over how to interpret Quantum Mechanics

quax quax writes  |  about a year and a half ago

quax (19371) writes "Feynman famously quipped that "nobody understands" quantum mechanics. But after almost a century shouldn't there be at least some consensus on how to interpret this theory? Ever since the famous argument between Bohr and Einstein over the EPR paradox, conventional wisdom was that Bohr's Copenhagen Interpretation will carry the day, but when surveying 33 leading experts at a quantum foundation conference, less than half voted that way.

Is it time for yet another paradigm change?"

Link to Original Source
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Is Quantum Computing a Pathological Science?

quax quax writes  |  about 2 years ago

quax (19371) writes "Science and engineering is not free of fads. Sometimes they start with a bang and end up vilified as pathological science just like cold fusion did. But could something seemingly as established as Quantum Computing fall into the same category?

Some physicists are seriously proposing exactly that. The author argues that the amount of publications on Quantum Computing has reached an unsustainable plateau and that the ratio of one experimental to thirty theoretical papers demonstrates how little this field is actually grounded in reality.

But what if the shoe is on the other foot? Could it be that these animosities are actually more a reflection on the state of modern physics?"

Link to Original Source
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Who is afraid of the big bad Quantum Computer?

quax quax writes  |  about 2 years ago

quax (19371) writes "Whenever Quantum Computing is dragged out to get some mainstream exposure it is the same old story: If we finally get these powerful machines then the end of all encryption is here and the sky is falling.

This article makes the case that there is much more to Quantum Computing than that, and that all the hand-wringing is not only pre-mature but also rather silly. Current quantum computing devices cannot defeat our standard encryption yet, but are at a point where they can already be a valuable new computing resource. On the other hand when considering how modern cryptography works, and when taking into account the progress made on Quantum Cryptography, the often repeated threat from Quantum Computers to the privacy of a encrypted data appears to be completely overblown.

 "

Link to Original Source
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Are Quantum Computers here to stay?

quax quax writes  |  about 2 years ago

quax (19371) writes "The first quantum computing devices have hit the market, while the juggernauts of the IT industry are still in research mode. So what is the difference between what you can buy now, and what IBM and Microsoft are researching? Turns out, unlike modern digital computers, the quantum computing field is far more diverse in terms of design and hardware approaches. This article attempts to sort this out and predicts a timeline for this nascent IT sector."
Link to Original Source
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A New Methode to Solve Linear Equations

quax quax writes  |  about 2 years ago

quax (19371) writes "Solving linear equations is one of the most common mathematical problems, and it is a fairly easy one that everybody learns to work in school. Surprisingly, a new algorithm has been found that improves over established methods within the domain of finite fields.

This algorithm is poised to find widespread use in applications as diverse as cryptography and quantum error correction.

The article provides links to the original paper and illustrates the concept of finite fields."

Link to Original Source
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How to get media attention for a start-up set to revolutionize IT?

quax quax writes  |  about 2 years ago

quax (19371) writes "The recent physics Noble price awards highlighted the prospect of quantum computing. Yet, in the media reports there was no mentioning of the only company that claims to ship the first quantum computing device. This is despite some recent impressive computational feats that were accomplished on its hardware and published in Nature. The company seems to do all the right things, so why do they get so little mainstream coverage?"
Link to Original Source
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Accelerator Driven Treatment of Nuclear Waste

quax quax writes  |  about 2 years ago

quax (19371) writes "In the wake of the Fukushima disaster the nuclear industry again faces massive opposition. Germany even decided to abandon nuclear energy altogether and the future of the industry is under a cloud of uncertainty in Japan. But one thing seems to be here to stay for a very, very long time: The radioactive waste that has half-lives measured in thousands of years.

But there is a technology under development in Belgium that could change all this: A sub-critical reactor design, driven by a particle accelerator that can transmute the nuclear waste into something that goes away within about two hundred years.

Could this lead to a revival of the nuclear industry and the reprocessing of spend reactor fuel?"

Link to Original Source
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Strong Words on Weak Quantum Measurement

quax quax writes  |  more than 2 years ago

quax (19371) writes "Recently news made the round that the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle was supposedly violated. (Slashdot reported on it here).

The underlying papers are quite mundane. But all caveats get stripped out in the reporting until only the wrong sensational twist remains.

Heisenberg did at some point speculate that the uncertainty relationship may be due to the measurements disturbing the system that is probed, but this idea has long been relegated to the dust bin of science history. So Robert R. Tucci deservedly demolishes this class of weak measurement experiments."
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Beyond Entanglement - Quantum Discord

quax quax writes  |  more than 2 years ago

quax (19371) writes "Entanglement lies at the heart of quantum mechanics and irritated Einstein to no end who called it "spooky action at a distance".

More recently science learned how to use entanglement as an information processing and computing resource. For instance it was thought to be the foundational ingredient for inherently wiretap safe quantum cryptography.

Now a recent paper in Nature Physics showed that the underlying phenomenon of quantum teleportation can be achieved by using none-entangled separable states that only display a low degree of non-classical correlations.

These states are characterized by their Quantum Discord property. The latter may turn-out to be more important than entanglement for the young field of quantum computing.

Time to add a new term to your science vocabulary."

Link to Original Source
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Germany's former first lady sues Google

quax quax writes  |  more than 2 years ago

quax (19371) writes "Bettina Wulff faces an uphill battle for her reputation. Her husband had to resign as Germany's president due to corruption allegations and has many detractors. Apparently some of them started a character assassination campaign against his wife. At least that is, if you trust serious journalists who looked into the matter and stated that it is made up. Unfortunately though for Bettina Wulff, the rumors took off on the Internet. Now whenever you enter her name Google suggest the additional search terms "prostitute" and "escort". Google refuses to alter its search index.

What do you think, should Google be allowed to destroy somebody's reputation like this?"

Link to Original Source
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Radioactive Decay Influenced by the Sun

quax quax writes  |  more than 2 years ago

quax (19371) writes "In school you probably learned that the decay rate of radioactive matter is solely determined by the halftime specific to the element. There is no environmental factor that can somehow tweak this process. At least there shouldn’t be. Now a second study confirmed previous findings that the decay rate of some elements seems to be under the subtle and mysterious influence of the sun. As of now there is no theoretical explanation for this strange effect buried in the decay rate data."
Link to Original Source
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The Unbearable Lightness of Quantum Mechanics

quax quax writes  |  more than 2 years ago

quax (19371) writes "For almost a century, ever since Einstein published his theory of General Relativity, a truly unified theory has been evading physicists . After decades of efforts, String theory and other mainstream approaches (so far) failed to deliver. This article takes a look at why it is so hard to reconcile Einstein's masterpiece with Quantum Mechanics and why there's hope that newly proposed experiments may eventually rectify the situation."
Link to Original Source
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Diamonds are a Qubit's Best Friend

quax quax writes  |  more than 2 years ago

quax (19371) writes "Diamonds are an incredibly versatile material. A recent slashdot stories report its use in medicine, another shows that exploiting is hardness can help to produce better phase change memory. Some synthetic diamonds are semi-conductors and could be made into chips that don’t require cooling. Nevertheless, diamonds never played an important role for computer technology. This may be about to change. Ironically it is this precious gem that could result in Quantum Computers cheap enough for the rest of us."
Link to Original Source

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