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Archive for 30. September 2019

Will advances in quantum computing affect internet security?

Posted by hkarner - 30. September 2019

Date: 29-09-2019
Source: The Guardian by John Naughton

Google has built a super-fast computer, but whether it can break the encryption we take for granted is moot

IBM’s new 53-qubit quantum computer: how much of a security threat does the new technology pose?

Something intriguing happened last week. A paper about quantum computing by a Google researcher making a startling claim appeared on a Nasa website – and then disappeared shortly afterwards. Conspiracy theorists immediately suspected that something sinister involving the National Security Agency was afoot. Spiritualists thought that it confirmed what they’ve always suspected about quantum phenomena. (It was, as one wag put it to me, a clear case of “Schrödinger’s Paper”.) Adherents of the cock-up theory of history (this columnist included) concluded that someone had just pushed the “publish” button prematurely, a suspicion apparently confirmed later by stories that the paper was intended for a major scientific journal before being published on the web.

Why was the elusive paper’s claim startling? It was because – according to the Financial Times – it asserted that a quantum computer built by Google could perform a calculation “in three minutes and 20 seconds that would take today’s most advanced classical computer … approximately 10,000 years”. As someone once said of the book of Genesis, this would be “important if true”. A more mischievous thought was: how would the researchers check that the quantum machine’s calculation was correct? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells review – our terrifying future

Posted by hkarner - 30. September 2019

Date: 29-09-2019
Source: The Guardian by Mark O’Connell

Enough to induce a panic attack … a brutal portrait of climate change and our future lives on Earth. But we have the tools to avoid it

You already know it’s bad. You already know the weather has gone weird, the ice caps are melting, the insects are disappearing from the Earth. You already know that your children, and your children’s children, if they are reckless or brave enough to reproduce, face a vista of rising seas, vanishing coastal cities, storms, wildfires, biblical floods. As someone who reads the news and is sensitive to the general mood of the times, you have a general sense of what we’re looking at. But do you truly understand the scale of the tribulations we face? David Wallace-Wells, author of the distressingly titled The Uninhabitable Earth, is here to tell you that you do not. “It is,” as he puts it in the book’s first line, “worse, much worse, than you think.”

The book expands on a viral article, also titled The Uninhabitable Earth, which Wallace-Wells published in New York in the summer of 2017, and which frightened the life out of everyone who read it. Writing at length, he is even more remorseless in his delineation of what the not nearly distant enough future probably holds for us. The book’s longest section, entitled Elements of Chaos, is composed of 12 short and brutal chapters, each of which foretells a specific dimension of our forecast doom, and whose titles alone – Heat Death; Dying Oceans; Unbreathable Air; Plagues of Warming – are enough to induce an honest-to-God panic attack. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Biggest Economies in the World

Posted by hkarner - 30. September 2019

Date: 29-09-2019
Source: https://www.statista.com

Looking at global GDP at current prices, but adjusted for purchasing power/cost of living, China was the biggest economy in the world in 2018, with an adjusted GDP of more than $25 trillion. While the Chinese economy is projected by the International Monetary Fund to grow by 6.3 percent in 2019 (a rather mediocre result for the country), the U.S. in second rank is expected to only grow its $20 trillion GDP by 2.3 percent.

Asian countries among the top 10 biggest economies exhibited the best growth prospects, even among a global economic slowdown. European economies like German and Italy are expected to struggle with growth in 2019, a fate they share with industrialized nation Japan.

According to the IMF, China and the U.S. are to remain at the top of the ranking in 2024, while Indonesia is projected to pull ahead of Germany. By 2030, India is expected to overtake the U.S. as the second-largest economy on the planet. At that time China is also supposed to be the biggest economy in the world in terms of nominal GDP, a record still held by the U.S. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Why we must cut out meat and dairy before dinner to save the planet

Posted by hkarner - 30. September 2019

Date: 29-09-2019
Source: The Guardian by Jonathan Safran Foer

Animal products create more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector, but we don’t want to confront this inconvenient truth: our eating habits are a problem

Our planet is facing a crisis. But even when we know that a war for our survival is raging, we don’t feel that it is our war. Although many of climate change’s accompanying calamities – extreme weather events, floods and wildfires, displacement and resource scarcity chief among them – are vivid, personal and suggestive of a worsening situation, they don’t feel that way in aggregate. The distance between awareness and feeling can make it very difficult for even thoughtful and politically engaged people – people who want to act – to act.

So-called climate change deniers reject the conclusion that 97% of climate scientists have reached: the planet is warming because of human activities. But what about those of us who say we accept the reality of human-caused climate change? We may not think the scientists are lying, but are we able truly to believe what they tell us? Such a belief would surely awaken us to the urgent ethical imperative attached to it, shake our collective conscience and render us willing to make small sacrifices in the present to avoid cataclysmic ones in the future. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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