More on Science
4 months ago
The Unlocking Of The Ultimate Clean Energy
The company seeking 24/7 ultra-powerful solar electricity.
We're rushing to adopt low-carbon energy to prevent a self-made doomsday. We're using solar, wind, and wave energy. These low-carbon sources aren't perfect. They consume large areas of land, causing habitat loss. They don't produce power reliably, necessitating large grid-level batteries, an environmental nightmare. We can and must do better than fossil fuels. Longi, one of the world's top solar panel producers, is creating a low-carbon energy source. Solar-powered spacecraft. But how does it work? Why is it so environmentally harmonious? And how can Longi unlock it?
Space-based solar makes sense. Satellites above Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) enjoy 24/7 daylight. Outer space has no atmosphere or ozone layer to block the Sun's high-energy UV radiation. Solar panels can create more energy in space than on Earth due to these two factors. Solar panels in orbit can create 40 times more power than those on Earth, according to estimates.
How can we utilize this immense power? Launch a geostationary satellite with solar panels, then beam power to Earth. Such a technology could be our most eco-friendly energy source. (Better than fusion power!) How?
Solar panels create more energy in space, as I've said. Solar panel manufacture and grid batteries emit the most carbon. This indicates that a space-solar farm's carbon footprint (which doesn't need a battery because it's a constant power source) might be over 40 times smaller than a terrestrial one. Combine that with carbon-neutral launch vehicles like Starship, and you have a low-carbon power source. Solar power has one of the lowest emissions per kWh at 6g/kWh, so space-based solar could approach net-zero emissions.
Space solar is versatile because it doesn't require enormous infrastructure. A space-solar farm could power New York and Dallas with the same efficiency, without cables. The satellite will transmit power to a nearby terminal. This allows an energy system to evolve and adapt as the society it powers changes. Building and maintaining infrastructure can be carbon-intensive, thus less infrastructure means less emissions.
Space-based solar doesn't destroy habitats, either. Solar and wind power can be engineered to reduce habitat loss, but they still harm ecosystems, which must be restored. Space solar requires almost no land, therefore it's easier on Mother Nature.
Space solar power could be the ultimate energy source. So why haven’t we done it yet?
Well, for two reasons: the cost of launch and the efficiency of wireless energy transmission.
Advances in rocket construction and reusable rocket technology have lowered orbital launch costs. In the early 2000s, the Space Shuttle cost $60,000 per kg launched into LEO, but a SpaceX Falcon 9 costs only $3,205. 95% drop! Even at these low prices, launching a space-based solar farm is commercially questionable.
Energy transmission efficiency is half of its commercial viability. Space-based solar farms must be in geostationary orbit to get 24/7 daylight, 22,300 miles above Earth's surface. It's a long way to wirelessly transmit energy. Most laser and microwave systems are below 20% efficient.
Space-based solar power is uneconomical due to low efficiency and high deployment costs.
Longi wants to create this ultimate power. But how?
They'll send solar panels into space to develop space-based solar power that can be beamed to Earth. This mission will help them design solar panels tough enough for space while remaining efficient.
Longi is a Chinese company, and China's space program and universities are developing space-based solar power and seeking commercial partners. Xidian University has built a 98%-efficient microwave-based wireless energy transmission system for space-based solar power. The Long March 5B is China's super-cheap (but not carbon-offset) launch vehicle.
Longi fills the gap. They have the commercial know-how and ability to build solar satellites and terrestrial terminals at scale. Universities and the Chinese government have transmission technology and low-cost launch vehicles to launch this technology.
It may take a decade to develop and refine this energy solution. This could spark a clean energy revolution. Once operational, Longi and the Chinese government could offer the world a flexible, environmentally friendly, rapidly deployable energy source.
Should the world adopt this technology and let China control its energy? I'm not very political, so you decide. This seems to be the beginning of tapping into this planet-saving energy source. Forget fusion reactors. Carbon-neutral energy is coming soon.
9 months ago
Xenobots, tiny living machines, can duplicate themselves.
Strange and complex behavior of frog cell blobs
A xenobot “parent,” shaped like a hungry Pac-Man (shown in red false color), created an “offspring” xenobot (green sphere) by gathering loose frog cells in its opening.
Tiny “living machines” made of frog cells can make copies of themselves. This newly discovered renewal mechanism may help create self-renewing biological machines.
According to Kirstin Petersen, an electrical and computer engineer at Cornell University who studies groups of robots, “this is an extremely exciting breakthrough.” She says self-replicating robots are a big step toward human-free systems.
Researchers described the behavior of xenobots earlier this year (SN: 3/31/21). Small clumps of skin stem cells from frog embryos knitted themselves into small spheres and started moving. Cilia, or cellular extensions, powered the xenobots around their lab dishes.
The findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Dec. 7. The xenobots can gather loose frog cells into spheres, which then form xenobots.
The researchers call this type of movement-induced reproduction kinematic self-replication. The study's coauthor, Douglas Blackiston of Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, and Harvard University, says this is typical. For example, sexual reproduction requires parental sperm and egg cells. Sometimes cells split or budded off from a parent.
“This is unique,” Blackiston says. These xenobots “find loose parts in the environment and cobble them together.” This second generation of xenobots can move like their parents, Blackiston says.
The researchers discovered that spheroid xenobots could only produce one more generation before dying out. The original xenobots' shape was predicted by an artificial intelligence program, allowing for four generations of replication.
A C shape, like an openmouthed Pac-Man, was predicted to be a more efficient progenitor. When improved xenobots were let loose in a dish, they began scooping up loose cells into their gaping “mouths,” forming more sphere-shaped bots (see image below). As many as 50 cells clumped together in the opening of a parent to form a mobile offspring. A xenobot is made up of 4,000–6,000 frog cells.
Petersen likes the Xenobots' small size. “The fact that they were able to do this at such a small scale just makes it even better,” she says. Miniature xenobots could sculpt tissues for implantation or deliver therapeutics inside the body.
Beyond the xenobots' potential jobs, the research advances an important science, says study coauthor and Tufts developmental biologist Michael Levin. The science of anticipating and controlling the outcomes of complex systems, he says.
“No one could have predicted this,” Levin says. “They regularly surprise us.” Researchers can use xenobots to test the unexpected. “This is about advancing the science of being less surprised,” Levin says.
6 months ago
Humanity is not even a Type 1 civilization. What might a Type 3 be capable of?
The Kardashev scale grades civilizations from Type 1 to Type 3 based on energy harvesting.
How do technologically proficient civilizations emerge across timescales measuring in the tens of thousands or even millions of years? This is a question that worries me as a researcher in the search for “technosignatures” from other civilizations on other worlds. Since it is already established that longer-lived civilizations are the ones we are most likely to detect, knowing something about their prospective evolutionary trajectories could be translated into improved search tactics. But even more than knowing what to seek for, what I really want to know is what happens to a society after so long time. What are they capable of? What do they become?
This was the question Russian SETI pioneer Nikolai Kardashev asked himself back in 1964. His answer was the now-famous “Kardashev Scale.” Kardashev was the first, although not the last, scientist to try and define the processes (or stages) of the evolution of civilizations. Today, I want to launch a series on this question. It is crucial to technosignature studies (of which our NASA team is hard at work), and it is also important for comprehending what might lay ahead for mankind if we manage to get through the bottlenecks we have now.
The Kardashev scale
Kardashev’s question can be expressed another way. What milestones in a civilization’s advancement up the ladder of technical complexity will be universal? The main notion here is that all (or at least most) civilizations will pass through some kind of definable stages as they progress, and some of these steps might be mirrored in how we could identify them. But, while Kardashev’s major focus was identifying signals from exo-civilizations, his scale gave us a clear way to think about their evolution.
The classification scheme Kardashev employed was not based on social systems of ethics because they are something that we can probably never predict about alien cultures. Instead, it was built on energy, which is something near and dear to the heart of everybody trained in physics. Energy use might offer the basis for universal stages of civilisation progression because you cannot do the work of establishing a civilization without consuming energy. So, Kardashev looked at what energy sources were accessible to civilizations as they evolved technologically and used those to build his scale.
From Kardashev’s perspective, there are three primary levels or “types” of advancement in terms of harvesting energy through which a civilization should progress.
Type 1: Civilizations that can capture all the energy resources of their native planet constitute the first stage. This would imply capturing all the light energy that falls on a world from its host star. This makes it reasonable, given solar energy will be the largest source available on most planets where life could form. For example, Earth absorbs hundreds of atomic bombs’ worth of energy from the Sun every second. That is a rather formidable energy source, and a Type 1 race would have all this power at their disposal for civilization construction.
Type 2: These civilizations can extract the whole energy resources of their home star. Nobel Prize-winning scientist Freeman Dyson famously anticipated Kardashev’s thinking on this when he imagined an advanced civilization erecting a large sphere around its star. This “Dyson Sphere” would be a machine the size of the complete solar system for gathering stellar photons and their energy.
Type 3: These super-civilizations could use all the energy produced by all the stars in their home galaxy. A normal galaxy has a few hundred billion stars, so that is a whole lot of energy. One way this may be done is if the civilization covered every star in their galaxy with Dyson spheres, but there could also be more inventive approaches.
Implications of the Kardashev scale
Climbing from Type 1 upward, we travel from the imaginable to the god-like. For example, it is not hard to envisage utilizing lots of big satellites in space to gather solar energy and then beaming that energy down to Earth via microwaves. That would get us to a Type 1 civilization. But creating a Dyson sphere would require chewing up whole planets. How long until we obtain that level of power? How would we have to change to get there? And once we get to Type 3 civilizations, we are virtually thinking about gods with the potential to engineer the entire cosmos.
For me, this is part of the point of the Kardashev scale. Its application for thinking about identifying technosignatures is crucial, but even more strong is its capacity to help us shape our imaginations. The mind might become blank staring across hundreds or thousands of millennia, and so we need tools and guides to focus our attention. That may be the only way to see what life might become — what we might become — once it arises to start out beyond the boundaries of space and time and potential.
This is a summary. Read the full article here.
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4 months ago
Trading Volume on OpenSea Drops by 99% as the NFT Boom Comes to an End
Wasn't that a get-rich-quick scheme?
OpenSea processed $2.7 billion in NFT transactions in May 2021.
Fueled by a crypto bull run, rumors of unfathomable riches, and FOMO, Bored Apes, Crypto Punks, and other JPEG-format trash projects flew off the virtual shelves, snatched up by retail investors and celebrities alike.
Over a year later, those shelves are overflowing and warehouses are backlogged. Since March, I've been writing less. In May and June, the bubble was close to bursting.
Apparently, the boom has finally peaked.
This bubble has punctured, and deflation has begun. On Aug. 28, OpenSea processed $9.34 million.
From that euphoric high of $2.7 billion, $9.34 million represents a spectacular decline of 99%.
OpenSea contradicts the data. A trading platform spokeswoman stated the comparison is unfair because it compares the site's highest and lowest trading days. They're the perfect two data points to assess the drop. OpenSea chooses to use ETH volume measures, which ignore crypto's shifting price. Since January 2022, monthly ETH volume has dropped 140%, according to Dune.
Further OpenSea indicators point to declining NFT demand:
Since January 2022, daily user visits have decreased by 50%.
Daily transactions have decreased by 50% since the beginning of the year in the same manner.
Off-platform, the floor price of Bored Apes has dropped from 145 ETH to 77 ETH. (At $4,800, a reduction from $700,000 to $370,000). Google search data shows waning popular interest.
It is a trend that will soon vanish, just like laser eyes.
NFTs haven't moved since the new year. Eminem and Snoop Dogg can utilize their apes in music videos or as 3D visuals to perform at the VMAs, but the reality is that NFTs have lost their public appeal and the market is trying to regain its footing.
They've lost popularity because?
Breaking records. The technology still lacks genuine use cases a year and a half after being popular.
They're pricey prestige symbols that have made a few people rich through cunning timing or less-than-savory scams or rug pulling. Over $10.5 billion has been taken through frauds, most of which are NFT enterprises promising to be the next Bored Apes, according to Web3 is going wonderfully. As the market falls, many ordinary investors realize they purchased into a self-fulfilling ecosystem that's halted. Many NFTs are sold between owner-held accounts to boost their price, data suggests. Most projects rely on social media excitement to debut with a high price before the first owners sell and chuckle to the bank. When they don't, the initiative fails, leaving investors high and dry.
NFTs are fading like laser eyes. Most people pushing the technology don't believe in it or the future it may bring. No, they just need a Kool-Aid-drunk buyer.
Everybody wins. When your JPEGs are worth 99% less than when you bought them, you've lost.
When demand reaches zero, many will lose.
2 months ago
A student trader from the United States made $110 million in one month and rose to prominence on Wall Street.
Genius or lucky?
From the title, you might think I'm selling advertising for a financial influencer, a dubious trading site, or a training organization to attract clients. I'm suspicious. Better safe than sorry.
But not here.
Jake Freeman, 20, made $110 million in a month, according to the Financial Times. At 18, he ran for president. He made his name in markets, not politics. Two years later, he's Wall Street's prince. Interview requests flood the prodigy.
Jake Freeman bought 5 million Bed Bath & Beyond Group shares for $5.5 in July 2022 and sold them for $27 a month later. He thought the stock might double. Since speculation died down, he sold well. The stock fell 40.5% to 11 dollars on Friday, 19 August 2022. On August 22, 2022, it fell 16% to $9.
Smallholders have been buying the stock for weeks and will lose heavily if it falls further. Bed Bath & Beyond is the second most popular stock after Foot Locker, ahead of GameStop and Apple.
Jake Freeman earned $110 million thanks to a significant stock market flurry.
Online broker customers aren't the only ones with jitters. By June 2022, Ken Griffin's Citadel and Stephen Mandel's Lone Pine Capital held nearly a third of the company's capital. Did big managers sell before the stock plummeted?
Recent stock movements (derivatives) and rumors could prompt a SEC investigation.
Jake Freeman wrote to the board of directors after his investment to call for a turnaround, given the company's persistent problems and short sellers. The bathroom and kitchen products distribution group's stock soared in July 2022 due to renewed buying by private speculators, who made it one of their meme stocks with AMC and GameStop.
Second-quarter 2022 results and financial health worsened. He didn't celebrate his miraculous operation in a nightclub. He told a British newspaper, "I'm shocked." His parents dined in New York. He returned to Los Angeles to study math and economics.
Jake Freeman founded Freeman Capital Management with his savings and $25 million from family, friends, and acquaintances. They are the ones who are entitled to the $110 million he raised in one month. Will his investors pocket and withdraw all or part of their profits or will they trust the young prodigy for new stunts on Wall Street?
His operation should attract new clients. Well-known hedge funds may hire him.
Jake Freeman didn't listen to gurus or former traders. At 17, he interned at a quantitative finance and derivatives hedge fund, Volaris. At 13, he began investing with his pharmaceutical executive uncle. All countries have increased their Google searches for the young trader in the last week.
Naturally, his success has inspired resentment.
His success stirs jealousy, and he's attacked on social media. On Reddit, people who lost money on Bed Bath & Beyond, Jake Freeman's fortune, are mourning.
Several conspiracy theories circulate about him, including that he doesn't exist or is working for a Taiwanese amusement park.
If all 20 million American students had the same trading skills, they would have generated $1.46 trillion. Jake Freeman is unique. Apprentice traders' careers are often short, disillusioning, and tragic.
Two years ago, 20-year-old Robinhood client Alexander Kearns committed suicide after losing $750,000 trading options. Great traders start young. Michael Platt of BlueCrest invested in British stocks at age 12 under his grandmother's supervision and made a £30,000 fortune. Paul Tudor Jones started trading before he turned 18 with his uncle. Warren Buffett, at age 10, was discussing investments with Goldman Sachs' head. Oracle of Omaha tells all.
6 months ago
Leaked pitch deck for Metas' new influencer-focused live-streaming service
As part of Meta's endeavor to establish an interactive live-streaming platform, the company is testing with influencers.
The NPE (new product experimentation team) has been testing Super since late 2020.
Bloomberg defined Super as a Cameo-inspired FaceTime-like gadget in 2020. The tool has evolved into a Twitch-like live streaming application.
Less than 100 creators have utilized Super: Creators can request access on Meta's website. Super isn't an Instagram, Facebook, or Meta extension.
“It’s a standalone project,” the spokesperson said about Super. “Right now, it’s web only. They have been testing it very quietly for about two years. The end goal [of NPE projects] is ultimately creating the next standalone project that could be part of the Meta family of products.” The spokesperson said the outreach this week was part of a drive to get more creators to test Super.
A 2021 pitch deck from Super reveals the inner workings of Meta.
The deck gathered feedback on possible sponsorship models, with mockups of brand deals & features. Meta reportedly paid creators $200 to $3,000 to test Super for 30 minutes.
Meta's pitch deck for Super live streaming was leaked.
What were the slides in the pitch deck for Metas Super?
Embed not supported: see full deck & article here →
View examples of Meta's pitch deck for Super:
Product Slides, first
The pitch deck begins with Super's mission:
Super is a Facebook-incubated platform which helps content creators connect with their fans digitally, and for super fans to meet and support their favorite creators. In the spirit of Late Night talk shows, we feature creators (“Superstars”), who are guests at a live, hosted conversation moderated by a Host.
This slide (and most of the deck) is text-heavy, with few icons, bullets, and illustrations to break up the content. Super's online app status (which requires no download or installation) might be used as a callout (rather than paragraph-form).
Meta's Super platform focuses on brand sponsorships and native placements, as shown in the slide above.
One of our theses is the idea that creators should benefit monetarily from their Super experiences, and we believe that offering a menu of different monetization strategies will enable the right experience for each creator. Our current focus is exploring sponsorship opportunities for creators, to better understand what types of sponsor placements will facilitate the best experience for all Super customers (viewers, creators, and advertisers).
Colorful mockups help bring Metas vision for Super to life.
2. Slide Features
Super's pitch deck focuses on the platform's features. The deck covers pre-show, pre-roll, and post-event for a Sponsored Experience.
Pre-show: active 30 minutes before the show's start
Pre-roll: Play a 15-minute commercial for the sponsor before the event (auto-plays once)
Meet and Greet: This event can have a branding, such as Meet & Greet presented by [Snickers]
Super Selfies: Makers and followers get a digital souvenir to post on social media.
Post-Event: Possibility to draw viewers' attention to sponsored content/links during the after-show
Almost every screen displays the Sponsor logo, link, and/or branded background. Viewers can watch sponsor video while waiting for the event to start.
Slide 3: Business Model
Meta's presentation for Super is incomplete without numbers. Super's first slide outlines the creator, sponsor, and Super's obligations. Super does not charge creators any fees or commissions on sponsorship earnings.
How to make a great pitch deck
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