“The entire world is currently looking for effective solutions to disinfect the Coronavirus. The problem is that in order to disinfect a bus, train, sports hall, or plane by chemical spraying, you need physical manpower, and in order for the spraying to be effective, you have to give the chemical time to act on the surface,” according to the lead researcher of the Tel Aviv U team who worked on the research, Professor Hadas Mamane. “Disinfection systems based on LED bulbs, however, can be installed in the ventilation system and air conditioner, for example, and sterilize the air sucked in and then emitted into the room.”
That light kills viruses has long been understood and it is already used for this purpose. The team’s work showed, however, the optimal type of LED light to specifically inactivate Conoavirus. Notably, they found that cheaper, more common 285nm LED bulbs are almost as efficient as 265u bulbs. The cheaper bulbs kill 99.9% of the virus in under half a minute, the team showed. The research is expected to have commercial applications.
“We discovered that it is quite simple to kill the Coronavirus using LED bulbs that radiate ultraviolet light,” explained Mamane. “We killed the viruses using cheaper and more readily available LED bulbs, which consume little energy and do not contain mercury like regular bulbs. Our research has commercial and societal implications, given the possibility of using such LED bulbs in all areas of our lives, safely and quickly.”
It’s important to note that regular people shouldn’t just try to use LED light to disinfect things without understanding the dangers involved. LED, light other types of light, can be harmful to people when not handled safely.
A new law of science has been found to beautifully explain crowd movements for first time. The as-yet unnamed law, which is a mathematical, universal power law for human interactions, was found by U of M researchers who analyzed complex datasets that have only recently been available. The movement of crowds is fundamentally anticipatory in nature, according to the researchers, and the new, simple energy law expresses, in the words of its lead author, “the beauty of human nature.”
“Nowadays, though, in the era of big-data there is a plethora of publicly available human crowd data. By analyzing such data, we found that, unlike particle-based interactions, the interactions between pedestrians are anticipatory in nature,” Karamouzas told us, referring to previous models that had attempted to predict crowd behavior with data based on repulsive particles rather than humans.
“To be more specific, when two particles interact the amount of energy that they have to expend to avoid colliding with each other depends on how close they are. In contrast, when two pedestrians interact, their energy depends on the ‘time-to-collision,’ i.e., the time that it takes for the pedestrians to collide assuming that they do not change course; as a collision becomes more imminent, this energy increases drastically.”
Karamouzas and his team have discovered a universal parameter based on single variable that explains crowd movement.
“Surprisingly, the relationship between interaction energy and time-to-collision consistently follows a simple mathematical law stating that the degree to which two pedestrians are willing to respond to each other is inversely proportional to the square of their projected time-to-collision.”
Karamouzas elaborated on the types of crowd phenomena that could be explained by the new law.
“This law is broadly applicable as it consistently holds across different crowd settings; we analyzed both sparse and dense human crowds and found that pedestrian interactions follow the same power-law relationship. Our law has allowed us to gain a better understanding into how human behave and interact in a crowd.
“Looking into the future, I believe that such a law will have broad applications into our everyday life, from simulating in a more accurate way pedestrian behaviors in games, training simulators and animated movies, to designing safer buildings and pedestrian facilities.”
Karamouzas also explained how a law could so simply cover such range in speeds, densities and situations.
“That’s the beauty of the human nature! Every person in a crowd is certainly unique with his/her own desires and individual goals. What our law captures is how people adapt their courses in response to others around them. And such adaptations directly follow from the psychology of anticipation. As we move through a crowd our brain is able to process visual and acoustic cues and recognize the future consequences of our actions allowing us to react accordingly. And it’s the interaction between each person’s individual goals and our inferred law that allows pedestrians to exhibit such a large variety of behaviors.”
The law could not have been found in the past, due to the complexity required of the analysis.
“When we move in a crowd, we typically experience a complex system of competing forces,” said Karamouzas. “On one hand we have a goal that we are tying to reach–e.g. grocery store–and on other hand we try not to bump into other people. On top of that, we hardly ever walk alone but in small groups–such as couples, families, friends, etc. As such, we have to account for all these factors and continuously make our own decisions, which makes very hard to isolate/identify the primary rule that describes our interactions in a crowd. Much of the work in our paper was developing a new analysis technique which can account for the effect of all these forces simultaneously. Because the technique we employed was statistical in nature, we needed to analyze thousands of trajectories to robustly determine the pedestrian interaction law.”
Karamouzas went into detail about how his team found the law.
“We turned into a large collection of publicly available pedestrian datasets that are nowadays available thanks to the advances in automated tracking and computer vision,” said Karamouzas. “Overall, we analyzed six datasets consisting of students walking in college campuses, pedestrians interacting at commercial streets, and a few controlled experiments where participants navigate through narrow bottlenecks.
Previously, there had been formidable challenges facing researchers who wanted to find an accurate and general rule for pedestrian behavior.
“To overcome the challenges that I mentioned already and robustly quantify the interaction law of pedestrians we employed a novel approach rooted in condensed matter physics. We initially measured the probability that any pair of pedestrians in the data has of maintaining a certain separation distance. We basically hypothesized that similar to charged particles, the interaction between pedestrians is distance-dependent. However, we found that the probability plots were very different for different walking speeds; when two pedestrians approach each other very fast they tend to maintain a larger separation distance than when they move slowly, as opposed to particles. As such, we started looking into different variables that can describe the interactions between pedestrians and we found that the time-to-collision is a sufficient descriptor. The probability plots were the same for different speeds as well as different orientations at which pedestrians approach each other. In addition, the time-to-collision measure naturally accounts for pedestrians coming relatively close to one another when moving in roughly the same direction–e.g. a pair of friends walking line-abreast. Eventually, by analyzing all the data, we inferred a simple energy law for the interactions between pairs of pedestrians.”
The research is considered to hold new promise for improved public architecture and spaces, the failings of which in the past have caused deaths.
“First of all, the nice thing about our newly identified law is that it directly implies an accurate model of simulating crowd flows. And through such simulations, we can design safer buildings as well as improve the efficiency of existing facilities–e.g., better egress times at a stadium. Furthermore, our novel way of analyzing crowd data and directly measuring the “interaction energy” between pairs of pedestrians opens interesting avenues for future work. For example, we would like to analyze crowd data from mass gatherings, such as concerts, and see how the interaction energy can be used to identify critical areas preventing the likelihood of crowd disasters–like the Love Parade in 2010).
Karamouzas commented on what he thought may be the most important thing for readers to understand of the research.
“The main take-away message is that a lot of the complexity of pedestrian interactions can be captured using simple mathematical equations. The universality of how pedestrian respond to each other is really surprising, and understanding this can lead to more accurate simulations, safer building designs, and shed some light into the anticipatory nature of human interactions.
The development of a new metal matrix composite foam may tip the balance back towards metal materials in the construction of marine vehicles — in addition to offering heat resistance well beyond that of the fiberglasses common in the industry today. According to NYU engineers, the first lighter-than-water metal construction foam can withstand significant pressure and three times as much heat as fiberglass.
The metal matrix composite is a magnesium alloy reinforced with spherical silicon carbide particles. The density — 0.92 grams per cubic centimeter versus water’s 1.0 – still allows the material to withstand 25,000 pounds per square inch of pressure before rupturing.
Some of the strength of the material is due to the hallow particles embedded in the material, which absorb energy during a fracture. With different measures of spheres added to the matrix, various densities can be created.
“The spheres are manufactured by our industrial partner Deep Spring Technology, Toledo, OH, USA,” noted Gupta, an expert in mechanical and aerospace engineering.
Spheres were the shape of choice for the foam. “This company also has capabilities of manufacturing hollow particles of many other shapes,” said Gupta, who referred to two other types of particle shapes — made of silicon carbide [gray color] and alumina [white color].
“Spherical particles have advantage that their properties are the same from any side. Particles of different shapes need to be used with more caution with regard to loading them along their strongest direction.”
The light-weight heat-resistant material is also expected to offer potential improvements in fuel economy for land transportation. The ability of metallic materials to withstand high temperatures is one of the main selling points, Gupta noted.
“Some of the competing materials are polymer matrix composites, commonly known as ‘fiberglass.’ One of the limitations of fiberglass materials is that they cannot be used over 150 degrees Celsius because polymer will degrade or burn. In addition, fire, smoke, and toxicity are concerns when polymers are exposed to high temperature. Magnesium and Magnesium matrix composites can be used up to about 500 degrees Celsius. Automotive components such as pistons, connecting rods, exhaust systems and structural components can be made of lightweight Mg matrix composite materials. High temperature in many of these components prohibits use of polymer matrix composites.
“The Magnesium-hollow sphere composites that we have developed also absorb a large amount of energy under compression. This property is desirable in automotive energy absorber components in cursing zones. These foams can also be filled in A and B-pillars of cars, and doors for side impact energy absorption.”
The technology may be put into use in prototype automobiles and boats within three years, as well as in amphibious vehicles developed by the US military, where currently the trend is toward other materials, although experts consider that the new lightweight product may again give metals a material advantage.
“Weight reduction in transportation applications can help in reducing the fuel consumption,” Gupta told us. “In addition, the high energy absorption capability per unit mass in these materials can also help in making vehicles safer. However, one material cannot be used to make all components, we need to find the components that will benefit the most from these new materials.
A recent study by Dutch design aesthetics researchers has discovered that women closely guard their fragrance identity to the point that they will keep it secret from the entire world if they can — so secret that even their friends cannot copy their personal scent, and they certainly won’t buy perfumes they like for their friends.
“The question here is not only: how do you express you identity? But it is: what types of items can someone else buy for you?” Dr. Rick Schifferstein of Delf University of Technology in the Netherlands told The Speaker. Schifferstein and his team were studying what effects packaging has on fragrance purchase when they made the somewhat unexpected discovery.
“Everyone expresses their identity through their appearance and their actions,” he explained. “Apparently, your identity is not only expressed through the way you dress or your haircut, but also by the fragrance you wear.
Women won’t buy perfumes for each other, the team found, unless they don’t like the scent themselves, or when they may have previously liked the scent but no longer have a purpose for it. Actually, the researchers found, women tend to “sabotage” their friends when they give this type of gift. Women will buy a scent they like for themselves or their boyfriend — which is something women like to do, the findings showed — but will only buy scents they dislike for their female friends.
“While women hold fragrances as personally intimate and respect other women’s intimate choices, they happily want to influence what fragrances men wear,” Dr Bryan Howell, co-author of the study, said. “Assuming it is for a spouse or boyfriend, they want to pick fragrances they also like since they’ll be around that person often.”
The issue is more complicated than a simple concept of “sabotage” though, according to the researchers, and has to do with the importance of personal identity. Schifferstein explained some of the complexity of the issue by referring to the gift motivations, concerns and preferences of women.
“Giving someone a fragrance might suggest that they need one because they smell bad. This could cause unwanted questions to occur between friends. Women prefer to avoid that possibility and look for a gift that is safer to share.”
In case women do give their friends fragrances, it may concern fragrances that are no longer working for themselves and that are passed on to their friends, in hopes that they will work for them. Alternatively, women may appreciate the personality or preference differences between themselves and their friends, and may decide to give them a fragrance that has a different character than what they would buy for themselves.
“Fragrance categories — for example, fruity, spicy, citrus, floral — may play an important role in this process: Some women identified themselves as belonging to a certain category and they would consider purchasing only fragrances from this category for themselves. Consequently, they would not recommend these fragrances for their female best friends.”
The gifts women choose for each other tend to be purchased with a strong motivation to play it safe: “The more intimate the item, the less likely it will be considered appropriate as a gift.” Gifts such as CDs, books, and flowers tend to suit this less intimate, more safe approach, Schifferstein told us.
Monopolization of community-based information networks by cartels of a few “super editors” among several risks that could lead to a diminished Wikipedia
Wikipedia’s quality benefits from high levels of free participation, but volunteer information databases like Wikipedia can be negatively effected by tendencies toward information monopolization, and, according to a recent study, this negative effect is more prevalent in more frequently edited articles — articles that could be considered to be more important.
In the study, researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and the Korea Institute for Advanced Study looked at how editors interact with each other as well as how they interact with articles, and integrated previously-ignored factors such as the consideration of real time — not just the number of edits used in previous studies to mark time.
Among the team’s findings: infrequently-referred articles grow faster than frequently-referred ones. Not only that, but articles that attracted a high motivation to edit actually reduced the number of participants. Yun and his colleagues inferred that this type of Wikipedia article participation decay results in inequality among community editors. The trend will become more severe as time goes on, they suspected:
“For the previous decade, many of these open-editing access movements have significantly affected the entire
society,” Jinhyuk Yun, a Ph.D. candidate at the Complex Systems and Statistical Physics Lab at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in Daejeon, South Korea, told us.
“Wikipedia, Creative Commons Licenses, GNU, etc. To sustain such movements, they must maintain their motivations for participants, which might be taken away by monopolization.”
Yun explained how communal information databases like Wikipedia slow down.
“There are various reasons to participate in such ‘open-editing’ movements. Some are collective reasons shared in a society, and others are somewhat personal. Because the motivation is diverse, slowing down is also due to various causes. First, there can be a loss of necessity to contribute due to changes in society — or technology. Some GNU software based on old platforms no longer continue because the number of users of such software is getting smaller. In addition, there can be new barriers caused by governmental regulations — not about such communal databases, but considering the case of UBER. One particular candidate we discussed in the paper is the monopolization by few ‘super-editors.'”
Yun also commented on how we can consider the health of such community databases?
“It is very hard to quantify the ‘health’ of such database because of the ambiguity in the definition of health. In my point of view, the databases should meet the standard of accuracy and instantaneity. In other words, it should keep the trend, but it should not lose its accuracy in the contents. Although these databases are mainly based on the contribution of anonymous sources, it should also have reliable references to cross-check.”
However, data monopolization is not a black and white issue, Yun noted.
“To be honest, monopolization sometimes does good in particular occasions,” Yun told us, “yet it has many risks in most cases. Consider political issues in authoritarian governments, where media controlled by the government sometimes manipulates people’s opinions by a simple nudge or filtering. Such manipulation can also happen in Wikipedia — for example, by cartels of super-editors.”
Yun offered some possible remedies for content monopolization on Wikipedia:
“Based on our observations, Wikipedia could consider a reward program to recruit new editors. Simple achievement reward programs — like those in video games — at an early stage might be helpful, yet it should be done under strict supervision to avoid vandals. For instance, giving merit to editors who supply new reliable references might help to keep the quality of articles.”
Japanese telecom company Softbank (the 62nd largest public company in the world) is buying Boston Dynamics from Alphabet (Google’s parent company). Softbank also got Japanese bipedal robotics company Schaft as part of the deal.
Details of the deal weren’t published.
Google bought Boston Dynamics in 2013 but put it back up for sale again last year. There were questions about what Google could really make of the venture, and also there were questions about the effect giant metal dog-like robots, which might find applications in warlike settings, would have on the image of Google.
Japan is a country that has publicly made it known that they will not look to immigration to add labor to support their aging population of baby boomers. They will instead look to robots.
Archivists and preservationists are feeling pressed for time as the VHS magnetic tape deadline approaches. Some are calling it the “magnetic media crisis.”
15-20 years is all VHS tapes are really expected to be good for. Like all magnets, the strength fades over time, and once enough of the magnetic field fades from a tape, you can’t recover the video. Another thing with tapes which isn’t usually an issue in the modern digital era is that there is often only one copy of each video.
So a lot of people who want to preserve their video memories made during the 80s and 90s are bringing business to companies that transfer their VHS tapes onto digital formats, which have a much longer shelf-life, and can be saved easily in multiple places and shared.
Drones in commercial, industrial, government, public, and private spaces — everywhere — pose various threats. And they can be just a plain nuisance as well.
One company working on this problem is Dronefence. They have a patent-pending tech that basically uses 2 cameras in stereo and a sensor, as well as some software, to identify drones in the air, check if their registration passes muster, and sound an alarm if it doesn’t. The system also records video footage of the drone.
Currently, Dronefence is just working on the identification. How to deal with intruding drones is another thing. But they’ve now acquired seed funding for their project from VP Capital, Larnabel Ventures, Boundary Holding, and the Technology and Business Consulting Group.
It’s capable of travelling over water, snow, sand and land, it can carry 10 people, and it has no problem with steep slopes and embankments … and it’s about to be unveiled at the Skolkovo Foundation’s Startup Village in Russia this week. … By the way, its very different from hovercraft, and it goes way faster (keep reading).
Who will end up buying these boats? Government agencies (for emergencies and surveillance), corporations (for transporting passengers and cargo to infrastructure sites such as oil and gas rigs in shallow waters), and individuals (for transport and recreation).
“They can be used for a whole variety of applications, including search and rescue operations, transportation of people and cargo, leisure, sports, fishing, monitoring of ports and surveillance,” according to the designers.
The Aeroboat was made as a joint Russia-India project, and was designed by IIAAT Holding. The St. Petersburg firm designed the Aeroboat in order to do what is currently impossible: Shallow water, dry patches, and marine plant-life in marshy or flooded areas pose a problem for traditional boats and other vehicles, and nevermind that terrain sometimes changes drawstically with the seasons.
So how is it different from hovercraft?
Besides being more robust, cheaper to maintain and fuel, the company explained, “Hovercrafts work on static air-cushion, whereas Aeroboats work on dynamic air-cushion. This feature gives Aeroboats a huge advantage in terms of speed and maneuverability.
“While hovercrafts on average move at around 45-50 kmh, Aeroboats are capable of going at around 150 kmh and even more on water, These speed levels are critical, especially during search and rescue operations, where sometimes every minute of swiftness can result in saving lives, as well as frequency in transportation of both passengers and cargo.”
Other interesting things about the Aeroboat: IIAAT developed nanomaterial-based anti-friction technology for the engine and selected mechanical parts, which greatly reduces friction and energy losses. The Aeroboat comes with either a standard gas or a hybrid gas-electric engine for increased efficiency and reduced pollution.
“Additionally, we are equipping our Aeroboats with [Internet of Things] technology, which allows us to remotely monitor and control/diagnose the equipment, as well as troubleshoot selected faults,” commented Sukrit Sharan, a senior board member of IIAAT. IIAAT is working with InfoWatch Group (Russian cybersecurity) in order to ensure its IoT tech stays secure.
India has already bought 25 units, and 5 have been delivered, and its expected the Aeroboats will be used in India’s vast regions of rivers and canals, which are sometimes dry land, sometimes monsoon flood. A similar but different use is predicted for Russia, where there is also government interest, because parts of the country with rivers and canals that are sometimes frozen, and so boats can’t transport year-round.
And guess what? They’re already working on a new version: an electric-only one Aeroboat with tandem wings.
Developed by the Russian company Diamant, the tech uses the tagged neutron method to find large diamonds inside kimberlite ores.
The unique advantage of the TNM method is to provide an image of the hidden object in three-dimensions, without having to crack open a bunch of rock.
Alrosa has come out as one of Diamant’s first customers. Currently, Alrosa crushes kimberlite to find diamonds, but this can end up damaging the precious stones, as well as being more expensive than Diamant’s dry method.
Why You Get Spam Voicemail When Your Phone Doesn’t Even Ring Now
It’s the latest thing in telemarketing. The phone doesn’t ring, but you hear a notification that you have a new voicemail.
It’s called “ringless voicemail” and it’s getting more common this year.
The great thing about ringless voicemail — if you are a telemarketer or debt collector — and the worst thing if you are a person with a phone is that you can’t block the call.
Yes, there are consumer protection laws that ban certain types of telephone marketing, but ringless voicemail is not currently classified as a call. The companies that provide ringless voicemail services are arguing that they shouldn’t be classified as calls. And regulators are considering the issue.
On the other side, consumer advocates are arguing that these calls will just become more popular and will end up clogging up voicemail inboxes with automated messages. People won’t be able to get their important messages, it might cost more, it will take more time, and it will prevent people from using their phones in the way they want to.
The matter is a new one, so the chips are still in the air as to how governments will deal with the ringless voicemail phenomenon.