Ultrafast microscope used to make slow-motion electron movie


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Clouds of electrons oscillating in gold material in space and time

University of Colorado Boulder researchers have demonstrated the use of the world’s first ultrafast optical microscope, allowing them to probe and visualize matter at the atomic level with mind-bending speed.

The ultrafast optical microscope assembled by the research team is 1,000 times more powerful than a conventional optical microscope, said CU-Boulder physics Professor Markus Raschke, lead study author. The “image frame” rate, or speed captured by the team, is 1 trillion times faster than the blink of an eye, allowing the researchers to make real-time, slow-motion movies of light interacting with electrons in nanomaterials – in this case a thin gold film…

According to the CU-Boulder researchers, a number of important processes like photosynthesis, energy conversion and use, and biological functions are based on the transfer of electrons and ions from molecule to molecule. The team used a technique called “plasmonic nanofocusing” to focus extraordinarily short laser pulses into tiny bits of gold film matter using a nanometer-sized metal tip.

Can’t wait to see what it offers from creepy-crawlies in pond water.

Colorado Planned Parenthood reopens after terrorist rampage

A Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic reopened on Monday, seeing patients nearly three months after a deadly shooting rampage at the facility left three people dead and nine wounded.

“Today, we opened our doors in Colorado Springs. We didn’t back down. We didn’t disappear. We returned, stronger and with more conviction than ever,” the clinic said in a statement.

The clinic was closed on Nov. 27 following a bloody five-hour siege that police said began when a gunman opened fire with a rifle outside the building and then stormed inside. He was taken into custody by law enforcement at the scene…

The facility was resuming its work providing a range of healthcare services, including abortion, to the community of Colorado Springs, Cowart said…

The gunman accused of carrying out the attack, Robert Lewis Dear, 57, faces 179 felony counts, including charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder and assault.

In a court appearance in December, he declared himself guilty and a “warrior for the babies.” He has also told a judge he distrusts his lawyers and wants to represent himself.

Like a tiny segment of Christians, Dear apparently feels he is doing the work of the God he believes in – by murdering people. Following the semantic logic of some Republican presidential candidates, that would make him a Christian terrorist.

Apple’s message to you and me

The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.

This moment calls for public discussion, and we want our customers and people around the country to understand what is at stake.

Smartphones, led by iPhone, have become an essential part of our lives. People use them to store an incredible amount of personal information, from our private conversations to our photos, our music, our notes, our calendars and contacts, our financial information and health data, even where we have been and where we are going.

All that information needs to be protected from hackers and criminals who want to access it, steal it, and use it without our knowledge or permission. Customers expect Apple and other technology companies to do everything in our power to protect their personal information, and at Apple we are deeply committed to safeguarding their data.

Compromising the security of our personal information can ultimately put our personal safety at risk. That is why encryption has become so important to all of us…

When the FBI has requested data that’s in our possession, we have provided it. Apple complies with valid subpoenas and search warrants, as we have in the San Bernardino case. We have also made Apple engineers available to advise the FBI, and we’ve offered our best ideas on a number of investigative options at their disposal…

Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession…

The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control…

The government is asking Apple to hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers — including tens of millions of American citizens — from sophisticated hackers and cybercriminals. The same engineers who built strong encryption into the iPhone to protect our users would, ironically, be ordered to weaken those protections and make our users less safe.

We can find no precedent for an American company being forced to expose its customers to a greater risk of attack. For years, cryptologists and national security experts have been warning against weakening encryption. Doing so would hurt only the well-meaning and law-abiding citizens who rely on companies like Apple to protect their data. Criminals and bad actors will still encrypt, using tools that are readily available to them.

Rather than asking for legislative action through Congress, the FBI is proposing an unprecedented use of the All Writs Act of 1789 to justify an expansion of its authority…

Opposing this order is not something we take lightly. We feel we must speak up in the face of what we see as an overreach by the U.S. government.

While we believe the FBI’s intentions are good, it would be wrong for the government to force us to build a backdoor into our products. And ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect.

Tim Cook

RTFA for a wee bit more detail. Well meaning folks who accept the FBI premise that somehow Apple already has a secret way to shutdown the “10-trial-and-wipe” feature enabled on a terrorist’s iPhone is a conclusion easy for an American to reach. A well-meaning and ignorant American. One of the best ways to design a warranty is to guarantee a product will self-destruct if tampered with. Turn it into a brick.

There is no need for a backdoor to get in and fiddle with the code. Make the attempt to do so cause an irretrievable act of destruction and you’ve fulfilled the guaranty of privacy. It was a revelation the first time I encountered that concept – over 60 years ago. I imagine it wasn’t new, then.

Equally important to my personal view is that this case is an excellent illustration of how little difference there is between the two old parties. When push comes to shove, both will come down on the side of political rule over individual liberty, personal privacy. The head of the FBI was appointed by a liberal Democrat, Barack Obama. The judge in the case, a Democrat, was appointed by a liberal Democrat, Barack Obama.

War or peace, individual liberty versus conformity defined from the top down, I have seen no reason to cast my lot with either of the two mediocrities we get to choose from to staff and guide our government. Unlike libertarians I absolutely endorse the premise of republican government – and democratic guidance by the people. That simply works better over time than the alternatives. The deliberate imposition of narrow, foot-dragging ideology by the liberal and conservative wings of class-based politicians is something I’ve had to confront since the first time I sat down at a drugstore counter with a Black friend of mine and ordered soft drinks for both of us…thereby breaking a law as “sacred” to the cops of America at the time as the crap abuse of a law from 1789 now is to the FBI and the President of the United States, Barack Obama.

#standwithapple

An end to flaring, venting, gas field methane overdue in New Mexico

A proposed rule from the U.S. Department of the Interior to reduce the venting, leaking and flaring of methane and other natural gases from oil and gas drilling operations on public lands has strong support among New Mexico leaders.

In a news call…local leaders and residents of northern New Mexico voiced their support for the new rule, which was developed by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management.

Kent Salazar, a lifelong resident of New Mexico and the western vice chair of the National Wildlife Foundation Board who participated in the call, said that limiting the venting of natural gases was a matter of sustainability.

“Oil and gas companies operating on federal and tribal lands are now wasting more than $330 million worth of natural gas nationwide,” Salazar said. “And in New Mexico, that’s $100 million a year, each year, through the wasteful practice of venting, flaring and leaking. In fact, New Mexico is No. 1 in the country for the amount of natural gas being lost.”

The BLM’s current rule regarding venting and flaring of methane and other gases was adopted more than 30 years ago. A 2010 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, cited by the Department of the Interior, found that almost 40 percent of natural gas vented, flared and leaked through oil and gas production on federal and tribal lands could be “economically captured with currently available technologies…”

Under the proposed rule, oil and gas producers would be required to use available technologies and equipment to limit natural gas leakage. The rule also clarifies when oil and gas operators owe royalties from methane and gas emissions. Royalty income from leakage could then be used to support local infrastructure and other needs on the local level.

Long overdue. It’s been decades since I worked in the fossil fuel industry. Attitudes haven’t changed even if technology has. What gets adopted – voluntarily – increases production and profits. Everything else has to be delivered via sharp blows to the head.

The Death of Abenomics and your friendly neighborhood central bank

Carl Weinberg snowbound
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Too bad Carl Weinberg was snowbound in Rhinebeck. I would have loved to see and hear him on SURVEILLANCE. When he’s on as guest host for an hour I learn a lot. He may not sound like it in this telephone segment; but, he’s one of my favorite optimists. The topics simply don’t invite optimism.

One of the most sound economists in American finance, he cuts through the bullshit and papier mache puppetry we get from the two old political parties and most of the tame TV talking heads.