Saturday, May 15, 2021

Introduction to Logisim Evolution: Open-Source Logic Simulator

Wow! I sure wish I'd had something like this when I was designing the M9900 CPU and M9900 64K!

You can download Logisim Evolution from GitHub. It's free, written in Java, and ready-to-run installable versions are available for Debian (etc.) and Red Hat (etc.) Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows systems.

Posted at 11:00 Permalink

Rocket Lab Electron “Running Out Of Toes” Launch

Launch is scheduled for 10:08 UTC on 2021-05-15. Rocket Lab will attempt to recover the first stage from the sea after a parachute splashdown.

Update: Loss of telemetry, end of Webcast without any further information. It doesn't look good. (2021-05-15 11:24 UTC)

Posted at 08:07 Permalink

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Chinese Tianwen-1 (天问) Mars Landing

I don't know if anybody will be streaming the landing attempt. If I come across sources, I will add them to this post. Here is background on the mission.

Posted at 12:18 Permalink

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Iron Dome in Action

Here is more on Iron Dome. Remember all the “experts” who said “You can't hit a missile with a missile”?

Posted at 10:37 Permalink

Monday, May 10, 2021

DOGE to the Moon!

This, just two days after Dogecoin declines 35% in 24 hours after Elon Musk calls it “a hustle” during a skit on Saturday Night Live.

Posted at 14:24 Permalink

There's Plenty “Moore” Room: IBM's New 2 Nanometre Silicon Process

Posted at 07:38 Permalink

Saturday, May 8, 2021

SpaceX Starlink L27 Mission to Attempt 10th Flight of Booster

If successful, this will be the tenth flight of first stage booster B1051-10, setting a record and achieving the original re-use goal for Falcon 9, after a 56 day turn-around following its previous flight. This will be the 117th launch of a Falcon 9, 63rd re-flight of a booster, and 84th landing of a booster. Launch is scheduled for 06:42 UTC on 2021-05-09. You can find the Webcast by typing “SpaceX webcast” in a YouTube search box starting around a half hour before the launch time.

Posted at 11:24 Permalink

Mars Helicopter Ingenuity Completes Fifth Flight

Posted at 11:19 Permalink

Friday, May 7, 2021

Discovering Physical Laws from Observational Data with Machine Learning

The paper is “AI Poincaré: Machine Learning Conservation Laws from Trajectories”.

Posted at 15:30 Permalink

Fungi on Mars?

There's a paper in the May 2021 issue of Advances in Microbology 11(5), “Fungi on Mars? Evidence of Growth and Behavior From Sequential Images” (full text [PDF] available for download from this link), which shows some intriguing images, both from orbit and rovers on the surface, that show striking similarities to fungal forms on Earth. Here is the abstract.

Fungi thrive in radiation intense environments. Sequential photos document that fungus-like Martian specimens emerge from the soil and increase in size, including those resembling puffballs (Basidiomycota). After obliteration of spherical specimens by the rover wheels, new sphericals--some with stalks--appeared atop the crests of old tracks. Sequences document that thousands of black arctic “araneiforms” grow up to 300 meters in the Spring and disappear by Winter; a pattern repeated each Spring and which may represent massive colonies of black fungi, mould, lichens, algae, methanogens and sulfur reducing species. Black fungi-bacteria-like specimens also appeared atop the rovers. In a series of photographs over three days (Sols) white amorphous specimens within a crevice changed shape and location then disappeared. White protoplasmic-mycelium-like-tendrils with fruiting-body-like appendages form networks upon and above the surface; or increase in mass as documented by sequential photographs. Hundreds of dimpled donut-shaped “mushroom-like” formations approximately 1mm in size are adjacent or attached to these mycelium-like complexes. Additional sequences document that white amorphous masses beneath rock-shelters increase in mass, number, or disappear and that similar white-fungus-like specimens appeared inside an open rover compartment. Comparative statistical analysis of a sample of 9 spherical specimens believed to be fungal “puffballs” photographed on Sol 1145 and 12 specimens that emerged from beneath the soil on Sol 1148 confirmed the nine grew significantly closer together as their diameters expanded and some showed evidence of movement. Cluster analysis and a paired sample ‘t’ test indicates a statistically significant size increase in the average size ratio over all comparisons between and within groups (P = 0.011). Statistical comparisons indicates that arctic “araneiforms” significantly increased in length in parallel following an initial growth spurt. Although similarities in morphology are not proof of life, growth, movement, and changes in shape and location constitute behavior and support the hypothesis there is life on Mars.

Here are some photos from the paper pointed out by Robin Hanson, with his comments.

Extraordinary claims…” and all that, but if any of this is correct, this is one of the most stunning scientific oversights in the last century, given that we have been observing Mars from orbit and the surface since 1976. If some of all of this (in particular, the gunk seeming to grow on the rovers) turns out to be contamination by terrestrial organisms which prove viable on Mars, it indicates that NASA's “planetary protection” standards (“maximum of 300,000 spores per spacecraft and 300 spores per square meter”) may have been “good enough for government work” but not for a universe in which “life finds a way”.

Posted at 11:49 Permalink

Thursday, May 6, 2021

A CPU Chip Bigger than Your Head: Cerebras Wafer Scale Engine 2

Cerebras Wafer Scale Engine 2 specifications:

  • 850,000 cores
  • 40 Gb on-chip SRAM
  • 7 nm TSMC process
  • 2.6 trillion transistors
  • 46,225 mm² silicon area;
  • 20 Pb/sec memory bandwidth
  • 220 Pb/sec on-chip interconnect bandwidth
  • 23 kW power dissipation (water cooled)

The wafer is designed with spare cores so that those with defects can be routed around, and hence fabrication yield is 100%.

Posted at 15:02 Permalink

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

SpaceX Starship SN15 Successful Test Flight and Landing

Posted at 22:50 Permalink

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

SpaceX: Starlink Launch

Launch is scheduled for 19:01 UTC on 2021-05-04. If the launch is scrubbed today, a backup opportunity is available on 2021-05-05 at 18:39 UTC.

Posted at 16:00 Permalink

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Posted at 14:00 Permalink

SpaceX Starship SN15 Medium Altitude Test

Road closures and airspace exclusion notices have been posted for today, 2021-05-04, and tomorrow, 2021-05-05 There is no way to know when in this window the flight test will occur, if at all. Today's (May 4th) window opens at 17:00 UTC.

Update: The flight is scrubbed for today, 2021-05-04. Another launch opportunity remains for tomorrow, 2021-05-05. (2021-05-04 16:07 UTC)

Posted at 11:01 Permalink

Sunday, May 2, 2021

SpaceX—Crew-1 Mission Return to Earth

Posted at 11:05 Permalink

Saturday, May 1, 2021

21st Century Problems—(Memory) Leaky Faucet

Posted at 12:31 Permalink

Friday, April 30, 2021

Mars Helicopter Ingenuity Completes Fourth Flight

Posted at 21:33 Permalink

SpaceX Starship SN15 Medium Altitude Test

FAA approval for the flight has been given and the road closure is scheduled for 13:00 UTC. The weather is not promising, but that didn't stop them launching SN11 in dense fog.

Posted at 14:15 Permalink

Ultrawhite Paint Transparent to Infrared

Here is the paper: “Ultrawhite BaSO4 Paints and Films for Remarkable Daytime Subambient Radiative Cooling”.

Posted at 13:25 Permalink