The InSight lander from NASA has recorded the greatest tremor ever felt on Mars.
The magnitude 5 earthquake was responsible for the discharge of energy that was 10 times greater than the previous record holder.
Any Martians who happen to be reading this should quickly learn how to duck and cover.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, reported that on May 4, the planet Mars was shaken by an earthquake of around magnitude 5, making it the greatest Marsquake ever detected to this point. The shaking persisted for more than six hours and unleashed more than ten times as much energy as the earthquake that had previously held the record for strongest.
The event was captured on record by the InSight lander, which is operated by the United States Space Agency and has been researching the innards of Mars ever since it touched down on the planet in 2018 (SN: 11/26/18). The epicenter of the earthquake was probably located in the vicinity of Cerberus Fossae, which is located more than 1,000 kilometers away from the lander.
The surface of Cerberus Fossae is notorious for being broken up and experiencing periodic rockfalls. According to geophysicist Philippe Lognonné, who is the lead investigator of the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, the seismometer that is onboard the InSight lander, it is reasonable to assume that the ground is moving in that area. "This is an old crater from a volcanic eruption."
Marsquakes, which are similar to earthquakes in that they give information about the interior structure of our planet, can be utilized to investigate what lies beneath the surface of Mars (SN: 7/22/21). And according to Lognonné, who works at the Institut de Physique du Globe in Paris, there is a great deal that can be gleaned from analyzing this massive earthquake. Because the quality of the signal is so high, we will be able to focus on the specifics.
More on Science
8 months ago
Thanks to a recent development, solar energy may prove to be the best energy source.
Perovskite solar cells will revolutionize everything.
Humanity is in a climatic Armageddon. Our widespread ecological crimes of the previous century are catching up with us, and planet-scale karma threatens everyone. We must adjust to new technologies and lifestyles to avoid this fate. Even solar power, a renewable energy source, has climate problems. A recent discovery could boost solar power's eco-friendliness and affordability. Perovskite solar cells are amazing.
Perovskite is a silicon-like semiconductor. Semiconductors are used to make computer chips, LEDs, camera sensors, and solar cells. Silicon makes sturdy and long-lasting solar cells, thus it's used in most modern solar panels.
Perovskite solar cells are far better. First, they're easy to make at room temperature, unlike silicon cells, which require long, intricate baking processes. This makes perovskite cells cheaper to make and reduces their carbon footprint. Perovskite cells are efficient. Most silicon panel solar farms are 18% efficient, meaning 18% of solar radiation energy is transformed into electricity. Perovskite cells are 25% efficient, making them 38% more efficient than silicon.
However, perovskite cells are nowhere near as durable. A normal silicon panel will lose efficiency after 20 years. The first perovskite cells were ineffective since they lasted barely minutes.
Recent research from Princeton shows that perovskite cells can endure 30 years. The cells kept their efficiency, therefore no sacrifices were made.
No electrical or chemical engineer here, thus I can't explain how they did it. But strangely, the team said longevity isn't the big deal. In the next years, perovskite panels will become longer-lasting. How do you test a panel if you only have a month or two? This breakthrough technique needs a uniform method to estimate perovskite life expectancy fast. The study's key milestone was establishing a standard procedure.
Lab-based advanced aging tests are their solution. Perovskite cells decay faster at higher temperatures, so scientists can extrapolate from that. The test heated the panel to 110 degrees and waited for its output to reduce by 20%. Their panel lasted 2,100 hours (87.5 days) before a 20% decline.
They did some math to extrapolate this data and figure out how long the panel would have lasted in different climates, and were shocked to find it would last 30 years in Princeton. This made perovskite panels as durable as silicon panels. This panel could theoretically be sold today.
This technology will soon allow these brilliant panels to be released into the wild. This technology could be commercially viable in ten, maybe five years.
Solar power will be the best once it does. Solar power is cheap and low-carbon. Perovskite is the cheapest renewable energy source if we switch to it. Solar panel manufacturing's carbon footprint will also drop.
Perovskites' impact goes beyond cost and carbon. Silicon panels require harmful mining and contain toxic elements (cadmium). Perovskite panels don't require intense mining or horrible materials, making their production and expiration more eco-friendly.
Solar power destroys habitat. Massive solar farms could reduce biodiversity and disrupt local ecology by destroying vital habitats. Perovskite cells are more efficient, so they can shrink a solar farm while maintaining energy output. This reduces land requirements, making perovskite solar power cheaper, and could reduce solar's environmental impact.
Perovskite solar power is scalable and environmentally friendly. Princeton scientists will speed up the development and rollout of this energy.
Why bother with fusion, fast reactors, SMRs, or traditional nuclear power? We're close to developing a nearly perfect environmentally friendly power source, and we have the tools and systems to do so quickly. It's also affordable, so we can adopt it quickly and let the developing world use it to grow. Even I struggle to justify spending billions on fusion when a great, cheap technology outperforms it. Perovskite's eco-credentials and cost advantages could save the world and power humanity's future.
8 months ago
Twisted device investigates fusion alternatives
German stellarator revamped to run longer, hotter, compete with tokamaks
Tokamaks have dominated the search for fusion energy for decades. Just as ITER, the world's largest and most expensive tokamak, nears completion in southern France, a smaller, twistier testbed will start up in Germany.
If the 16-meter-wide stellarator can match or outperform similar-size tokamaks, fusion experts may rethink their future. Stellarators can keep their superhot gases stable enough to fuse nuclei and produce energy. They can theoretically run forever, but tokamaks must pause to reset their magnet coils.
The €1 billion German machine, Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X), is already getting "tokamak-like performance" in short runs, claims plasma physicist David Gates, preventing particles and heat from escaping the superhot gas. If W7-X can go long, "it will be ahead," he says. "Stellarators excel" Eindhoven University of Technology theorist Josefine Proll says, "Stellarators are back in the game." A few of startup companies, including one that Gates is leaving Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, are developing their own stellarators.
W7-X has been running at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Greifswald, Germany, since 2015, albeit only at low power and for brief runs. W7-X's developers took it down and replaced all inner walls and fittings with water-cooled equivalents, allowing for longer, hotter runs. The team reported at a W7-X board meeting last week that the revised plasma vessel has no leaks. It's expected to restart later this month to show if it can get plasma to fusion-igniting conditions.
Wendelstein 7-X's water-cooled inner surface allows for longer runs.
Both stellarators and tokamaks create magnetic gas cages hot enough to melt metal. Microwaves or particle beams heat. Extreme temperatures create a plasma, a seething mix of separated nuclei and electrons, and cause the nuclei to fuse, releasing energy. A fusion power plant would use deuterium and tritium, which react quickly. Non-energy-generating research machines like W7-X avoid tritium and use hydrogen or deuterium instead.
Tokamaks and stellarators use electromagnetic coils to create plasma-confining magnetic fields. A greater field near the hole causes plasma to drift to the reactor's wall.
Tokamaks control drift by circulating plasma around a ring. Streaming creates a magnetic field that twists and stabilizes ionized plasma. Stellarators employ magnetic coils to twist, not plasma. Once plasma physicists got powerful enough supercomputers, they could optimize stellarator magnets to improve plasma confinement.
W7-X is the first large, optimized stellarator with 50 6- ton superconducting coils. Its construction began in the mid-1990s and cost roughly twice the €550 million originally budgeted.
The wait hasn't disappointed researchers. W7-X director Thomas Klinger: "The machine operated immediately." "It's a friendly machine." It did everything we asked." Tokamaks are prone to "instabilities" (plasma bulging or wobbling) or strong "disruptions," sometimes associated to halted plasma flow. IPP theorist Sophia Henneberg believes stellarators don't employ plasma current, which "removes an entire branch" of instabilities.
In early stellarators, the magnetic field geometry drove slower particles to follow banana-shaped orbits until they collided with other particles and leaked energy. Gates believes W7-X's ability to suppress this effect implies its optimization works.
W7-X loses heat through different forms of turbulence, which push particles toward the wall. Theorists have only lately mastered simulating turbulence. W7-X's forthcoming campaign will test simulations and turbulence-fighting techniques.
A stellarator can run constantly, unlike a tokamak, which pulses. W7-X has run 100 seconds—long by tokamak standards—at low power. The device's uncooled microwave and particle heating systems only produced 11.5 megawatts. The update doubles heating power. High temperature, high plasma density, and extensive runs will test stellarators' fusion power potential. Klinger wants to heat ions to 50 million degrees Celsius for 100 seconds. That would make W7-X "a world-class machine," he argues. The team will push for 30 minutes. "We'll move step-by-step," he says.
W7-X's success has inspired VCs to finance entrepreneurs creating commercial stellarators. Startups must simplify magnet production.
Princeton Stellarators, created by Gates and colleagues this year, has $3 million to build a prototype reactor without W7-X's twisted magnet coils. Instead, it will use a mosaic of 1000 HTS square coils on the plasma vessel's outside. By adjusting each coil's magnetic field, operators can change the applied field's form. Gates: "It moves coil complexity to the control system." The company intends to construct a reactor that can fuse cheap, abundant deuterium to produce neutrons for radioisotopes. If successful, the company will build a reactor.
Renaissance Fusion, situated in Grenoble, France, raised €16 million and wants to coat plasma vessel segments in HTS. Using a laser, engineers will burn off superconductor tracks to carve magnet coils. They want to build a meter-long test segment in 2 years and a full prototype by 2027.
Type One Energy in Madison, Wisconsin, won DOE money to bend HTS cables for stellarator magnets. The business carved twisting grooves in metal with computer-controlled etching equipment to coil cables. David Anderson of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, claims advanced manufacturing technology enables the stellarator.
Anderson said W7-X's next phase will boost stellarator work. “Half-hour discharges are steady-state,” he says. “This is a big deal.”
9 months ago
Here's what to expect from NASA Artemis 1 and why it's significant.
NASA's Artemis 1 mission will help return people to the Moon after a half-century break. The mission is a shakedown cruise for NASA's Space Launch System and Orion Crew Capsule.
The spaceship will visit the Moon, deploy satellites, and enter orbit. NASA wants to practice operating the spacecraft, test the conditions people will face on the Moon, and ensure a safe return to Earth.
We asked Jack Burns, a space scientist at the University of Colorado Boulder and former member of NASA's Presidential Transition Team, to describe the mission, explain what the Artemis program promises for space exploration, and reflect on how the space program has changed in the half-century since humans last set foot on the moon.
What distinguishes Artemis 1 from other rockets?
Artemis 1 is the Space Launch System's first launch. NASA calls this a "heavy-lift" vehicle. It will be more powerful than Apollo's Saturn V, which transported people to the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s.
It's a new sort of rocket system with two strap-on solid rocket boosters from the space shuttle. It's a mix of the shuttle and Saturn V.
The Orion Crew Capsule will be tested extensively. It'll spend a month in the high-radiation Moon environment. It will also test the heat shield, which protects the capsule and its occupants at 25,000 mph. The heat shield must work well because this is the fastest capsule descent since Apollo.
This mission will also carry miniature Moon-orbiting satellites. These will undertake vital precursor science, including as examining further into permanently shadowed craters where scientists suspect there is water and measuring the radiation environment to see long-term human consequences.
Artemis 1 will launch, fly to the Moon, place satellites, orbit it, return to Earth, and splash down in the ocean. NASA.
What's Artemis's goal? What launches are next?
The mission is a first step toward Artemis 3, which will lead to the first human Moon missions since 1972. Artemis 1 is unmanned.
Artemis 2 will have astronauts a few years later. Like Apollo 8, it will be an orbital mission that circles the Moon and returns. The astronauts will orbit the Moon longer and test everything with a crew.
Eventually, Artemis 3 will meet with the SpaceX Starship on the Moon's surface and transfer people. Orion will stay in orbit while the lunar Starship lands astronauts. They'll go to the Moon's south pole to investigate the water ice there.
Artemis is reminiscent of Apollo. What's changed in 50 years?
Kennedy wanted to beat the Soviets to the Moon with Apollo. The administration didn't care much about space flight or the Moon, but the goal would place America first in space and technology.
You live and die by the sword if you do that. When the U.S. reached the Moon, it was over. Russia lost. We planted flags and did science experiments. Richard Nixon canceled the program after Apollo 11 because the political goals were attained.
Large rocket with two boosters between two gates
NASA's new Space Launch System is brought to a launchpad. NASA
50 years later... It's quite different. We're not trying to beat the Russians, Chinese, or anyone else, but to begin sustainable space exploration.
Artemis has many goals. It includes harnessing in-situ resources like water ice and lunar soil to make food, fuel, and building materials.
SpaceX is part of this first journey to the Moon's surface, therefore the initiative is also helping to develop a lunar and space economy. NASA doesn't own the Starship but is buying seats for astronauts. SpaceX will employ Starship to transport cargo, private astronauts, and foreign astronauts.
Fifty years of technology advancement has made getting to the Moon cheaper and more practical, and computer technology allows for more advanced tests. 50 years of technological progress have changed everything. Anyone with enough money can send a spacecraft to the Moon, but not humans.
Commercial Lunar Payload Services engages commercial companies to develop uncrewed Moon landers. We're sending a radio telescope to the Moon in January. Even 10 years ago, that was impossible.
Since humans last visited the Moon 50 years ago, technology has improved greatly.
What other changes does Artemis have in store?
The government says Artemis 3 will have at least one woman and likely a person of color.
I'm looking forward to seeing more diversity so young kids can say, "Hey, there's an astronaut that looks like me. I can do this. I can be part of the space program.”
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9 months ago
Mystery of the $1 billion'meme stock' that went to $400 billion in days
Who is AMTD Digital?
An unknown Hong Kong corporation joined the global megacaps worth over $500 billion on Tuesday.
The American Depository Share (ADS) with the ticker code HKD gapped at the open, soaring 25% over the previous closing price as trading began, before hitting an intraday high of $2,555.
At its peak, its market cap was almost $450 billion, more than Facebook parent Meta or Alibaba.
Yahoo Finance reported a daily volume of 350,500 shares, the lowest since the ADS began trading and much below the average of 1.2 million.
Despite losing a fifth of its value on Wednesday, it's still worth more than Toyota, Nike, McDonald's, or Walt Disney.
The company sold 16 million shares at $7.80 each in mid-July, giving it a $1 billion market valuation.
Why the boom?
That market cap seems unjustified.
According to SEC reports, its income-generating assets barely topped $400 million in March. Fortune's emails and calls went unanswered.
Website discloses little about company model. Its one-minute business presentation film uses a Star Wars–like design to sell the company as a "one-stop digital solutions platform in Asia"
The SEC prospectus explains.
AMTD Digital sells a "SpiderNet Ecosystems Solutions" kind of club membership that connects enterprises. This is the bulk of its $25 million annual revenue in April 2021.
Pretax profits have been higher than top line over the past three years due to fair value accounting gains on Appier, DayDayCook, WeDoctor, and five Asian fintechs.
AMTD Group, the company's parent, specializes in investment banking, hotel services, luxury education, and media and entertainment. AMTD IDEA, a $14 billion subsidiary, is also traded on the NYSE.
Why AMTD Digital listed in the U.S. is unknown, as it informed investors in its share offering prospectus that could delist under SEC guidelines.
Beijing's red tape prevents the Sarbanes-Oxley Board from inspecting its Chinese auditor.
This frustrates Chinese stock investors. If the U.S. and China can't achieve a deal, 261 Chinese companies worth $1.3 trillion might be delisted.
Calvin Choi left UBS to become AMTD Group's CEO.
His capitalist background and status as a Young Global Leader with the World Economic Forum don't stop him from praising China's Communist party or celebrating the "glory and dream of the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese nation" a century after its creation.
Despite having an executive vice chairman with a record of battling corruption and ties to Carrie Lam, Beijing's previous proconsul in Hong Kong, Choi is apparently being targeted for a two-year industry ban by the city's securities regulator after an investor accused Choi of malfeasance.
Some CMIG-funded initiatives produced money, but he didn't give us the proceeds, a corporate official told China's Caixin in October 2020. We don't know if he misappropriated or lost some money.
A seismic anomaly
In fundamental analysis, where companies are valued based on future cash flows, AMTD Digital's mind-boggling market cap is a statistical aberration that should occur once every hundred years.
AMTD Digital doesn't know why it's so valuable. In a thank-you letter to new shareholders, it said it was confused by the stock's performance.
Since its IPO, the company has seen significant ADS price volatility and active trading volume, it said Tuesday. "To our knowledge, there have been no important circumstances, events, or other matters since the IPO date."
Permabears awoke after the jump. Jim Chanos asked if "we're all going to ignore the $400 billion meme stock in the room," while Nate Anderson called AMTD Group "sketchy."
It happened the same day SEC Chair Gary Gensler praised the 20th anniversary of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, aimed to restore trust in America's financial markets after the Enron and WorldCom accounting fraud scandals.
The run-up revived unpleasant memories of Robinhood's decision to limit retail investors' ability to buy GameStop, regarded as a measure to protect hedge funds invested in the meme company.
Why wasn't HKD's buy button removed? Because retail wasn't behind it?" tweeted Gensler on Tuesday. "Real stock fraud. "You're worthless."
8 months ago
How to Produce a Month's Worth of Content for Social Media in a Day
New social media producers' biggest error
The Treadmill of Social Media Content
New creators focus on the wrong platforms.
They post to Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc.
They create daily material, but it's never enough for social media algorithms.
Creators recognize they're on a content creation treadmill.
They have to keep publishing content daily just to stay on the algorithm’s good side and avoid losing the audience they’ve built on the platform.
This is exhausting and unsustainable, causing creator burnout.
They focus on short-lived platforms, which is an issue.
Comparing low- and high-return social media platforms
Social media networks are great for reaching new audiences.
Their algorithm is meant to viralize material.
Social media can use you for their aims if you're not careful.
To master social media, focus on the right platforms.
To do this, we must differentiate low-ROI and high-ROI platforms:
Low ROI platforms are ones where content has a short lifespan. High ROI platforms are ones where content has a longer lifespan.
A tweet may be shown for 12 days. If you write an article or blog post, it could get visitors for 23 years.
ROI is drastically different.
New creators have limited time and high learning curves.
Nothing is possible.
First create content for high-return platforms.
ROI for social media platforms
Here are high-return platforms:
Your Blog - A single blog article can rank and attract a ton of targeted traffic for a very long time thanks to the power of SEO.
YouTube - YouTube has a reputation for showing search results or sidebar recommendations for videos uploaded 23 years ago. A superb video you make may receive views for a number of years.
Medium - A platform dedicated to excellent writing is called Medium. When you write an article about a subject that never goes out of style, you're building a digital asset that can drive visitors indefinitely.
These high ROI platforms let you generate content once and get visitors for years.
This contrasts with low ROI platforms:
The posts you publish on these networks have a 23-day lifetime. Instagram Reels and TikToks are exceptions since viral content can last months.
If you want to make content creation sustainable and enjoyable, you must focus the majority of your efforts on creating high ROI content first. You can then use the magic of repurposing content to publish content to the lower ROI platforms to increase your reach and exposure.
How To Use Your Content Again
So, you’ve decided to focus on the high ROI platforms.
You've published an article or a YouTube video.
You worked hard on it.
Now you have fresh stuff.
If you are not repurposing each piece of content for multiple platforms, you are throwing away your time and efforts.
You've created fantastic material, so why not distribute it across platforms?
Repurposing Content Step-by-Step
For me, it's writing a blog article, but you might start with a video or podcast.
The premise is the same regardless of the medium.
Start by creating content for a high ROI platform (YouTube, Blog Post, Medium). Then, repurpose, edit, and repost it to the lower ROI platforms.
Here's how to repurpose pillar material for other platforms:
Post the article on your blog.
Put your piece on Medium (use the canonical link to point to your blog as the source for SEO)
Create a video and upload it to YouTube using the talking points from the article.
Rewrite the piece a little, then post it to LinkedIn.
Change the article's format to a Thread and share it on Twitter.
Find a few quick quotes throughout the article, then use them in tweets or Instagram quote posts.
Create a carousel for Instagram and LinkedIn using screenshots from the Twitter Thread.
Go through your film and select a few valuable 30-second segments. Share them on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Instagram Reels.
Your video's audio can be taken out and uploaded as a podcast episode.
If you (or your team) achieve all this, you'll have 20-30 pieces of social media content.
If you're just starting, I wouldn't advocate doing all of this at once.
Instead, focus on a few platforms with this method.
You can outsource this as your company expands. (If you'd want to learn more about content repurposing, contact me.)
You may focus on relevant work while someone else grows your social media on autopilot.
You develop high-ROI pillar content, and it's automatically chopped up and posted on social media.
This lets you use social media algorithms without getting sucked in.
Thanks for reading!
9 months ago
Old power paradigm blocks new planetary paradigm
The difference between our reality and the media's reality is like a tale of two worlds. The greatest and worst of times, really.
Expanding information demands complex skills and understanding to separate important information from ignorance and crap. And that's just the start of determining the source's aim.
Trust who? We see people trust liars in public and then be destroyed by their decisions. Mistakes may be devastating.
Many give up and don't trust anyone. Reality is a choice, though. Same risks.
We must separate our needs and wants from reality. Needs and wants have rules. Greed and selfishness create an unlivable planet.
Culturally, we know this, but we ignore it as foolish. Selfish and greedy people obtain what they want, while others suffer.
We invade, plunder, rape, and burn. We establish civilizations by institutionalizing an exploitable underclass and denying its existence. These cultural lies promote greed and selfishness despite their destructiveness.
Controlling parts of society institutionalize these lies as fact. Many of each age are willing to gamble on greed because they were taught to see greed and selfishness as principles justified by prosperity.
Our cultural understanding recognizes the long-term benefits of collaboration and sharing. This older understanding generates an increasing tension between greedy people and those who see its planetary effects.
Survival requires distinguishing between global and regional realities. Simple, yet many can't do it. This is the first time human greed has had a global impact.
In the past, conflict stories focused on regional winners and losers. Losers lose, winners win, etc. Powerful people see potential decades of nuclear devastation as local, overblown, and not personally dangerous.
Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) was a human choice that required people to acquiesce to irrational devastation. This prevented nuclear destruction. Most would refuse.
A dangerous “solution” relies on nuclear trigger-pullers not acting irrationally. Since then, we've collected case studies of sane people performing crazy things in experiments. We've been lucky, but the climate apocalypse could be different.
Climate disaster requires only continuing current behavior. These actions already cause global harm, but that's not a threat. These activities must be viewed differently.
Once grasped, denying planetary facts is hard to accept. Deniers can't think beyond regional power. Seeing planet-scale is unusual.
Decades of indoctrination defining any planetary perspective as un-American implies communal planetary assets are for plundering. The old paradigm limits any other view.
In the same way, the new paradigm sees the old regional power paradigm as a threat to planetary civilization and lifeforms. Insane!
While MAD relied on leaders not acting stupidly to trigger a nuclear holocaust, the delayed climatic holocaust needs correcting centuries of lunacy. We must stop allowing craziness in global leadership.
Nothing in our acknowledged past provides a paradigm for such. Only primitive people have failed to reach our level of sophistication.
Before European colonization, certain North American cultures built sophisticated regional nations but abandoned them owing to authoritarian cruelty and destruction. They were overrun by societies that saw no wrong in perpetual exploitation. David Graeber's The Dawn of Everything is an example of historical rediscovery, which is now crucial.
From the new paradigm's perspective, the old paradigm is irrational, yet it's too easy to see those in it as ignorant or malicious, if not both. These people are both, but the collapsing paradigm they promote is older or more ingrained than we think.
We can't shift that paradigm's view of a dead world. We must eliminate this mindset from our nations' leadership. No other way will preserve the earth.
Change is occurring. As always with tremendous transition, younger people are building the new paradigm.
The old paradigm's disintegration is insane. The ability to detect errors and abandon their sources is more important than age. This is gaining recognition.
The breakdown of the previous paradigm is not due to senile leadership, but to systemic problems that the current, conservative leadership cannot recognize.
Stop following the old paradigm.