Monday, July 22

Science

Multiple nations enact mysterious export controls on quantum computers
Science

Multiple nations enact mysterious export controls on quantum computers

Quantum computer exports are being restricted by many countriesSaigh Anees/Shutterstock Secret international discussions have resulted in governments across the world imposing identical export controls on quantum computers, while refusing to disclose the scientific rationale behind the regulations. Although quantum computers theoretically have the potential to threaten national security by breaking encryption techniques, even the most advanced quantum computers currently in public existence are too small and too error-prone to achieve this, rendering the bans seemingly pointless. The UK is one of the countries that has prohibited the export of quantum computers with 34 or more quantum bits, or qubits, and error rates below a certain threshold. The intention seems to be...
Incredibly complex mazes discovered in structure of bizarre crystals
Science

Incredibly complex mazes discovered in structure of bizarre crystals

Can you find you way out from the red centre of the maze? Scroll down for the solutionUniversity of Bristol An algorithm designed to find the most efficient path from atom to atom in a bizarre kind of crystal turns out to produce incredibly intricate mazes. As well as making mazes, the technique could help speed up certain industrial chemical reactions. The crystals in question are called quasicrystals because, while their atoms are arranged in repeating forms like an ordinary crystal, they display more complex and unpredictable forms of symmetry. Such crystals have been synthesised in the laboratory and were even created by the first detonation of a nuclear weapon in 1945, but only one natural source has ever been found: a meteorite discovered in Russia in 1985. ...
Scaling the Mountains of Textile Waste in New York City – State of the Planet
Science

Scaling the Mountains of Textile Waste in New York City – State of the Planet

As the subway train rumbles through the tunnels, I anticipate my arrival at a textile waste facility in Brooklyn, where I will spend the day volunteering with Columbia University’s Impact Fashion Club. My job is to sort through fabric scraps and textile waste for Fabscrap, a non-profit organization and one-stop textile reuse and recycling resource. Exiting the station, I am greeted by the industrial hum of the neighborhood. Inside the Fabscrap warehouse within the Brooklyn Army Terminal, the air smells of fabric, and piles and piles of bags and boxes fill the room. Their contents? Nothing but textile waste. Sorted textile scraps at the Fabscrap facility. Photo: Mary Austin Harrelson In 2021, Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) reported that the annual textile waste produced in New York City...
University examiners fail to spot ChatGPT answers in real-world test
Science

University examiners fail to spot ChatGPT answers in real-world test

Exams taken in person make it harder for students to cheat using AITrish Gant / Alamy Ninety-four per cent of university exam submissions created using ChatGPT weren’t detected as being generated by artificial intelligence, and these submissions tended to get higher scores than real students’ work. Peter Scarfe at the University of Reading, UK, and his colleagues used ChatGPT to produce answers to 63 assessment questions on five modules across the university’s psychology undergraduate degrees. Students sat these exams at home, so they were allowed to look at notes and references, and they could potentially have used AI although this wasn’t permitted. The AI-generated answers were submitted alongside real students’ work, and accounted for, on average, 5 per cent of...
Why this is a golden age for life to thrive across the universe
Science

Why this is a golden age for life to thrive across the universe

ESO/VVV Survey/D. Minniti. Ackno This story is part of our Cosmic Perspective special, in which we confront the staggering vastness of the cosmos and our place in it. Read the rest of the series here. Since the opening act of the universe 13.8 billion years ago, a diverse set of characters have trod the boards – stars, planets, moons, quasars. But if you tend to get fidgety at the theatre, there is bad news: this cosmic performance has at least 100 billion years to go. Which raises a question: are we living at a special moment – the cliffhanger before the interval – or is this just an inconsequential moment in the mid-plot? One hint that this is a special instant involves a swathe of observed properties of the universe known as fundamental constants. These include the ...