Curating the Internet: Science and technology digest for January 16, 2020

The largest-ever nuclear fusion test in space, and the impact it had on Hawaii; Microsoft Edge officially moves to Chromium; Windows 7 has reached End of Life; Windows users, patch your system now; and a Steem essay describing a new, lighter weight, 18-Carat gold material

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First posted on my Steem blog: SteemIt, SteemPeak*, StemGeeks.


  1. The Largest Nuclear Test in Outer Space Had Startling Effects on Hawaii - On July 8, 1962, the US government exploded a 1.4 Megaton nuclear fusion bomb in space, about 250 miles above the Earth's surface. The bomb was known as Starfish Prime. For about seven minutes, Hawaii was brilliantly illuminated, as if a second sun were shining, than it dimmed to a glow that lasted for another four hours. The explosion was seen in the night sky by Hawaii's residents, and reports followed that the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) from the explosion disabled devices like radios, telephones, and street lights. At the same time, at least six satellites were also rendered inoperable. 58 years later, this remains the largest-ever explosion in space, after international treaties resulted in a ban on this sort of testing. Later analyses suggest that additional tests of this sort would be dangerous for more than 1,400 satellites and six astronauts that are currently in space.

  2. Goodbye Microsoft Edge, welcome Microsoft (Chromium) Edge - As-of January 15, Microsoft will be replacing it's proprietary and closed source rendering engine with Google's Chromium engine in the Microsoft Edge Browser. This article argues that since Chromium is one of the two biggest open-source engines, and it's replacing a closed source and proprietary engine, the authors don't see a big problem with the way that Microsoft is increasing reliance on Google's product suite. The author experimented with the product on January 14, and found that it's like a simple and snappy Google Chrome browser. The browser now has access to add-ons from the official Chrome web store, although the availability of products in Microsoft's own store remains sparse. Missing features include the ability to save web history and the ability to synchronize between devices.

  3. Windows 7 is no longer supported beginning today - As of January 14, free updates are no longer available for Microsoft's 11 year old Windows 7 operating system. In order to maintain Internet security, users of Windows 7 are advised to upgrade to Windows 10. In preparation for the upgrade, this article recommends downloading a debloat tool and a tool that gives control over the Windows 10 privacy settings. The article also notes that moving to something else, like Linux, is also possible.

  4. Critical Windows Vulnerability Discovered by NSA - A zero-day Microsoft vulnerability with their elliptic curve cryptography (ECC) could enable an attacker to sign a malicious binary, which would make the malicious program appear to be trusted and legitimate. The bug can also enable a man in the middle attack, which would provide an attacker with surveillance capabilities on encrypted connections. He says that the vulnerability was discovered by NSA researchers, and it should be assumed that criminal and state-based actors have already weaponized it - including, of course, the NSA. Interestingly, this is not the first time that the NSA has sent security advisories to Microsoft, but it's the first time that the agency has taken credit for one.

    Schneier's adivce: Patch. Now. Right now. At this very moment.

  5. STEEM 18-Carat Gold Made From Plastic - In this post, @kralizec discusses a new 18-Carat gold composite that retains the shininess but weighs much less. Traditionally, 18-Carat gold is made by mixing gold with copper. This gives it an appealing glimmering apperance, but it is also very heavy. By mixing gold with a plastic polymer, salt, and alcohol and then hardening it in a pressure chamber @kralizec notes that researchers have devised a form of gold that is still 18-Carats, but much lighter than a material that is made with copper. The team believes that their material can find uses in jewelry and watches, as well as a myriad of chemical, electronics, and radiation shielding materials. (A 10% beneficiary setting has been applied to this post for @kralizec.)

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16.01.2020 21:40

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