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Blogger Wins Libel Damages Over Columnist's Tweets

slashdot - Fri, 03/10/2017 - 22:00
eionmac shares a report that details a legal battle in which a food blogger won thousands of dollars in libel damages "after a row over two tweets." BBC reports: Food blogger Jack Monroe has won 24,000 British pounds damages, plus legal costs, in a libel action against columnist Katie Hopkins after a row over two tweets. Ms Monroe sued the writer over two war memorial tweets she said caused "serious harm" to her reputation. Ms Hopkins posted tweets in May 2015 asking her if she had "scrawled on any memorials recently." Ms Monroe said that meant she had either vandalized a war memorial or "condoned or approved" of it. Mr Justice Warby also ordered Ms Hopkins -- a columnist for the Mail Online -- to pay an initial 107,000 British pounds towards the campaigner's legal costs within 28 days. He ruled that the tweets had caused "Ms Monroe real and substantial distress" and she was entitled to "fair and reasonable compensation."

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The SEC Just Handed Bitcoin a Huge Setback

slashdot - Fri, 03/10/2017 - 21:40
The SEC has decided to deny an application for the first exchange-traded product that tracks the price of bitcoin, according to an order posted on the regulator's website. From a report: In an order today, the commission found that the proposed fund was too susceptible to fraud, due to the unregulated nature of Bitcoin. The result is a major setback for the fund, and a frustrating false start for the crypto-currency at large. The ETF is essentially a common stock fund pegged to the price of Bitcoin, allowing investors to purchase Bitcoin without the work of establishing a personal wallet. (In concrete terms, the ETFs investors will be buying shares whose price will always be the same as the price of a single bitcoin, similar to an equivalent investment in gold or cattle.) Without a wallet, investors still won't be able to spend Bitcoin, but they can buy and sell it at market price, adding more liquidity to the Bitcoin system overall.

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Oculus CTO John Carmack Is Suing ZeniMax For $22.5 Million

slashdot - Fri, 03/10/2017 - 21:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: The feud between Oculus and ZeniMax Media is opening up once again, this time with the CTO of Oculus, John Carmack, suing his former employer for earnings that he claims are still owed to him. The suit is largely unrelated to the $6 billion trade secrets suit which ended last month with a $500 million judgment against Oculus. Instead, Carmack is suing ZeniMax Media for $22.5 million that he says has not been paid to him for the 2009 sale of his game studio, id Software, known for such pioneering video game classics as Doom and Quake. The lawsuit reveals that ZeniMax Media paid $150 million for the game studio. The document details that Carmack was set to earn $45 million from the id acquisition. In 2011, Carmack converted half of that note into a half-million shares of ZeniMax common stock, but has yet to receive the other half of his earnings in cash or common stock from the company, despite formal requests being made. The lawsuit was reported first by Dallas News.

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Microsoft Admits Mistake, Pulls Problematic Windows 10 Driver

slashdot - Fri, 03/10/2017 - 20:40
Wayne Williams, writing for BetaNews: Microsoft pushed out a mysterious driver to Windows users on Wednesday that caused big problems for some. The driver, listed as "Microsoft -- WPD -- 2/22/2016 12:00:00 AM -- 5.2.5326.4762," wasn't accompanied by any details, although we knew from the name that it related to Windows Portable Devices and affected users who had phones and tablets connected to the OS. Microsoft today admitted the problem with the driver, saying on the Answers Forum: "An incorrect device driver was released for Windows 10, on March 8, 2017, that affected a small group of users with connected phones or portable devices. After installation, these devices are not detected properly by Windows 10, but are affected in no other way. We removed the driver from Windows Update the same day, but if the driver had already installed, you may still be having this issue." As Williams adds, even though it was an optional update for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users, it was pushed to those on Windows 10.

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Alphabet's Waymo Asks Judge To Block Uber From Using Self-Driving Car Secrets

slashdot - Fri, 03/10/2017 - 20:00
Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving spinoff from Google, is formally asking a judge to block Uber from operating its autonomous vehicles, according to new documents filed in Waymo's lawsuit against Uber. From a report on The Verge: The lawsuit, which was filed last month, alleges that Uber stole key elements of its self-driving car technology from Google. Uber has called the accusations "baseless." Today in federal court, Waymo filed the sworn testimony of Gary Brown, a forensic security engineer with Google since 2013. Citing logs from Google's secure network, Brown claims that Anthony Levandowski, a former Google engineer who now runs Uber's self-driving car program, downloaded 14,000 files from a Google repository that contain design files, schematics, and other confidential information pertaining to its self-driving car project. Levandowski used his personal laptop to download the files, a fact that Brown says made it easy to track.

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Pennsylvania Sues IBM Over Jobless Claims System Upgrade

slashdot - Fri, 03/10/2017 - 19:20
Pennsylvania has sued IBM for $170 million, claiming the company failed to deliver a promised upgrade to its outdated system of processing unemployment claims. From a report: IBM did not immediately respond to a request for comment but a company representative told the Associated Press the suit had no merit and the company would fight it. The suit stems from a 2006 fixed-price contract awarded to IBM for $109.9 million with a completion date of February 2010, the state said in a press release. As delays and costs mounted, the state let the contract lapse in 2013 when an independent assessment determined the project had a high risk of failure.

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What’s new on Drupal.org? - February 2017

drupal - Thu, 03/09/2017 - 16:17

Read our Roadmap to understand how this work falls into priorities set by the Drupal Association with direction and collaboration from the Board and community.

Drupal.org updates Industry Pages Launched

After a great deal of preparation, user research, and content development we've launched the first three 'Drupal in your Industry' pages. These first three pages highlight the power of Drupal in Media and Publishing, Higher Education, and Government. Each of these pages uses geo-targeted content to reach audiences in: the Americas; Europe, the Middle East, and Africa; and the Asia Pacific, Australia and New Zealand regions.

These pages are targeted at evaluators of Drupal in these specific industries. From our research, we've found that these evaluators typically have Drupal on their short list of technology choices, but are not familiar with how a complete solution is built on Drupal, and they're eager to see success stories from their industry peers.

We'll be expanding on this initiative with additional industry pages as time goes on.

Project Application Revamp

In February we completed phases 1 and 2 of the Project Application Process Revamp. This has meant polishing up the security advisory coverage messages that are provided on project pages, adding a new field for vetted users to opt-in to advisory coverage for their projects, and adding security advisory coverage information to the updates xml served from Drupal.org. With these issues complete we'll be able to move forward with Phase 3 (opening the project promotion gates) and Phase 4 (improving code quality signals and incentivizing peer review) as we roll into March.

[Author's note] The project application revamp hit a major milestone in early March with the completion of Phase 3. Now, any user who has accepted the git terms of service may now promote sandbox projects to full projects with releases, and the application process has been re-purposed for vetting users who want the ability to opt into security advisory coverage for their projects. Look for more information in our upcoming March post.

2017 Community Elections are Live

On February 1 we opened self-nominations for one of the two community-at-large seats on the Drupal Association Board of Directors. At the time of this post, self-nominations have closed and now it's time to vote!.

Each year we make incremental improvements to the elections process. This year we've allowed each candidate to present a short 'statement of candidacy' video - and we've updated the ballot to allow easy drag-and-drop ranking of candidates.

Voting closes on March 18th, so make sure to vote soon!

Documentation polish, and new "call-out" templates

As the migration of content into the new documentation system continues, we've continued to polish and improve the tools. In February we made a few small improvements including: help text for maintainers and fixes for links to the discuss page in email notifications. We also made one large improvement: Call-out templates for highlighting warning information or version-specific notes within a documentation page. These templates are available using the CKEditor Templates button when editing any documentation page.

The documentation editor may select from the 'Warning note' template, which will highlight cautionary information in a visually distinct orange section on the page, or the 'Version-specific note' template, which allows users to highlight information that may only be relevant to a specific minor release of Drupal.

Here are two examples of what the call-outs will look like to a documentation reader.

DrupalCI Coding standards testing

DrupalCI logo

DrupalCI continues to accelerate the pace of Drupal development as we make the system more efficient and add new features. In February we enhanced the coding standards testing that was added DrupalCI in January. Using PHPCodeSniffer, ESlint, and CSSlint coding standards results are available in the test results' Build Artifacts directory, including automatically generated patches to fix found issues. We've also begun displaying summary information about coding standards testing on Drupal.org test results. Again we'd like to thank community contributor mile23 for his work on this feature.

More useful error output

We also made DrupalCI's error output more detailed, to make it more immediately clear to developers what the issue with a particular patch might be. Developers will now see messages on the test result bubbles, for example a 'patch failed to apply' error rather than a generic 'CI error' message.

Community Initiatives Contrib Documentation Migration

We want to continue to encourage Project maintainers to create documentation guides on their projects using the new documentation content types. Maintainers can then migrate their old documentation content into these new guides, or create new documentation pages. For more information about this process, please consult our guide to contrib documentation.

Help port Dreditor features to Drupal.org

Are you a Drupal.org power user who relies on Dreditor? Markcarver is currently leading the charge to port Dreditor features to Drupal.org, and invites anyone interested in contributing to join him in #dreditor on freenode IRC or the Dreditor GitHub.

Infrastructure Special note: Drupal Association seeks Infrastructure Services vendor

We'd also like to announce a Request for Information. The Drupal Association seeks an infrastructure services vendor to help us manage the underlying infrastructure that supports Drupal.org, our sub-sites, and the services we maintain. Our internal engineering team will continue to manage the sites and services themselves, while this vendor will help us with systems administration, virtual machine management, monitoring and pager responsibilities, disaster recovery, etc.

For more details about this request for information, please see our post on the Association blog.

———

As always, we’d like to say thanks to all the volunteers who work with us, and to the Drupal Association Supporters, who made it possible for us to work on these projects. If you would like to support our work as an individual or an organization, consider becoming a member of the Drupal Association. Follow us on Twitter for regular updates: @drupal_org, @drupal_infra

Study Suggests Potatoes Can Grow On Mars

slashdot - Thu, 03/09/2017 - 10:00
The International Potato Center (CIP) has launched a series of experiments to discover if potatoes can grow under Mars' atmospheric conditions, as well as under extreme conditions on Earth. The CIP placed a potato inside a "specially constructed CubeSat contained environment" that simulates Mars temperature, air pressure, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. They then used sensors and live-streaming cameras to record the soil and monitor the status of the potato. Preliminary results are positive as cameras inside the container show sprouts. Phys.Org reports: "We have been looking at the very dry soils found in the southern Peruvian desert. These are the most Mars-like soils found on Earth." Chris McKay of NASA ARC. "This [research] could have a direct technological benefit on Earth and a direct biological benefit on Earth," says Chris McKay of NASA ARC. From the initial experiment, CIP scientists concluded that future Mars missions that hope to grow potatoes will have to prepare soil with a loose structure and nutrients to allow the tubers to obtain enough air and water to allow it to tuberize. "It was a pleasant surprise to see that potatoes we've bred to tolerate abiotic stress were able to produce tubers in this soil," Amoros said. He added that one of the best performing varieties was very salt-tolerant from the CIP breeding program for adaptation to subtropical lowlands with tolerance to abiotic stress that was also recently released as a variety in Bangladesh for cultivation in coastal areas with high soil salinity. Amoros noted that whatever their implications for Mars missions, the experiments have already provided good news about potato's potential for helping people survive in extreme environments on Earth.

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FCC Investigating Coast-To-Coast 911 Outage For AT&T Wireless Users

slashdot - Thu, 03/09/2017 - 07:00
AT&T says it has fixed a nationwide outage that prevented its wireless customers from making 911 emergency calls. "Service has been restored for wireless customers affected by an issue connecting to 911. We apologize to those affected," the company officials said in a statement. The outage was serious enough to gain the attention of the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, said via Twitter that they are investigating what went wrong. NBC News reports: The company didn't say how widespread the outage was, but as reports poured in from across the country, Karima Holmes, director of unified communications for the Washington, D.C., government, said her office had been "advised there is a nationwide outage for AT&T." At 10:20 p.m. ET, about 10 minutes before AT&T gave the all-clear, DownDetector, a site that monitors internet traffic for real-time information on wireless and broadband carriers, indicated that outage reports for AT&T were clustered most prominently around New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Miami, Dallas, Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle. But emergency authorities across the country confirmed 911 outages and publicized direct police, fire and ambulance dispatch telephone numbers that AT&T customers should call in emergencies.

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Quantum Computer Learns To 'See' Trees

slashdot - Thu, 03/09/2017 - 03:30
sciencehabit writes from a report via Science Magazine: Scientists have trained a quantum computer to recognize trees. That may not seem like a big deal, but the result means that researchers are a step closer to using such computers for complicated machine learning problems like pattern recognition and computer vision. The team fed hundreds of NASA satellite images of California into a D-Wave 2X processor, and asked the computer to consider dozens of features -- hue, saturation, even light reflectance -- to determine whether clumps of pixels were trees as opposed to roads, buildings, or rivers. They then told the computer whether its classifications were right or wrong so that the computer could learn from its mistakes, tweaking the formula it uses to determine whether something is a tree. After it was trained, the D-Wave was 90% accurate in recognizing trees in aerial photographs of Mill Valley, California. The results demonstrate how scientists can program quantum computers to 'look' at and analyze images, and opens up the possibility of using them to solve other complex problems that require heavy data crunching.

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IBM Researchers Prove It Is Possible To Store Data In a Single Atom

slashdot - Thu, 03/09/2017 - 01:40
In an experiment published today in Nature, IBM researchers have managed to read and write data to a single atom. A previous atomic storage technique, as mentioned by TechCrunch, doesn't actually store data in the atom, but moves them around to form readable patterns. "This means that imbuing individual atoms with a 0 or 1 is the next major step forward and the next major barrier in storing data digitally, both increasing capacity by orders of magnitude and presenting a brand new challenge to engineers and physicists," reports TechCrunch. From the report: It works like this: A single Holmium atom (a large one with many unpaired electrons) is set on a bed of magnesium oxide. In this configuration, the atom has what's called magnetic bistability: It has two stable magnetic states with different spins (just go with it). The researchers use a scanning tunneling microscope (also invented at IBM, in the 1980s) to apply about 150 millivolts at 10 microamps to the atom -- it doesn't sound like a lot, but at that scale, it's like a lightning strike. This huge influx of electrons causes the Holmium atom to switch its magnetic spin state. Because the two states have different conductivity profiles, the STM tip can detect which state the atom is in by applying a lower voltage (about 75 millivolts) and sensing its resistance. In order to be absolutely sure the atom was changing its magnetic state and this wasn't just some interference or effect from the STM's electric storm, the researchers set an iron atom down nearby. This atom is affected by its magnetic neighborhood, and acted differently when probed while the Holmium atom was in its different states. This proves that the experiment truly creates a lasting, stored magnetic state in a single atom that can be detected indirectly. And there you have it: a single atom used to store what amounts to a 0 or a 1. The experimenters made two of them and zapped them independently to form the four binary combinations (00,01,10,11) that two such nodes can form.

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Tesla's New Solar Energy Station On Kauai Will Power Hawaii At Night

slashdot - Thu, 03/09/2017 - 01:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: The Kapaia project is a combination 13MW SolarCity solar farm and 53MWh Tesla Powerpack station on the island of Kauai. In partnership with the KIUC (Kauai Island Utility Cooperative) the project will store the sun's energy during the day and release it at night. The station (along with Kauai's other renewable resource solutions including wind and biomass) won't completely keep the island from using fossil fuels but it will temper the need. In addition to using Tesla's station to battle the island's incredibly high electric bills, it's also part of a long-term Hawaii-state plan to be completely powered by renewable energy sources by 2045. Kauai has its own goal of using 70 percent renewable energy by 2030. With this project the island is getting closer to that goal and can now produce 100 percent of the energy it needs during high usage mid days and low loads via renewables during a brief period of time. The island state doesn't have the benefit of a massive grid like the mainland to pull electricity from sources hundreds of miles away. Instead each island has to take care of its own energy solutions. According to Tesla and the KIUC, the 45 acre Kapaia project will reduce the use of fossil fuels by 1.6 million gallons a year. You can view Tesla's Powerpack and solar farm on Kauai here.

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Ask Slashdot: Should You Use Password Managers?

slashdot - Thu, 03/09/2017 - 00:20
New submitter informaticsDude writes: What do Slashdot users recommend regarding the use of password managers? The recent election underscored the hackability of many personal accounts. One solution is to use different passwords for every digital experience. But, of course, humans are lousy at remembering large numbers of large random strings. Another solution is to use a password manager. However, password managers have been hacked in the past, in which case you lose everything. How do Slashdot users balance the competing risks? What is a person to do?

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GOP Senators' New Bill Would Let ISPs Sell Your Web Browsing Data

slashdot - Wed, 03/08/2017 - 23:40
Yesterday, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and 23 Republican co-sponsors introduced a resolution that would overturn new privacy rules for internet service providers. "If the Federal Communications Commission rules are eliminated, ISPs would not have to get consumers' explicit consent before selling or sharing web browsing data and other privacy information with advertisers and other third parties," reports Ars Technica. "The measure would use lawmakers' power under the Congressional Review Act to ensure that the FCC rulemaking 'shall have no force or effect.' The resolution would also prevent the FCC from issuing similar regulations in the future." From the report: Flake's announcement said he's trying to "protect consumers from overreaching Internet regulation." Flake also said that the resolution "empowers consumers to make informed choices on if and how their data can be shared," but he did not explain how it will achieve that. The privacy order had several major components. The requirement to get the opt-in consent of consumers before sharing information covered geo-location data, financial and health information, children's information, Social Security numbers, Web browsing history, app usage history, and the content of communications. This requirement is supposed to take effect on December 4, 2017. The rulemaking had a data security component that required ISPs to take "reasonable" steps to protect customers' information from theft and data breaches. This was supposed to take effect on March 2, but the FCC under newly appointed Chairman Ajit Pai halted the rule's implementation. Another set of requirements related to data breach notifications is scheduled to take effect on June 2. Flake's resolution would prevent all of those requirements from being implemented. He said that this "is the first step toward restoring the [Federal Trade Commission's] light-touch, consumer-friendly approach." Giving the FTC authority over Internet service providers would require further FCC or Congressional action because the FTC is not allowed to regulate common carriers, a designation currently applied to ISPs.

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Malta's Azure Window Collapses Into the Sea

slashdot - Wed, 03/08/2017 - 23:10
New submitter Duvzo writes: Sadly, our famous [Azure Window] landmark disappeared today, and not just the arch but the whole offshore stack has vanished. Strong gale force winds hit Malta yesterday, ultimately causing their landmark to collapse. Malta's prime minister, Joseph Muscat, said the news was heartbreaking. "Reports commissioned over the years indicated that this landmark would be hard hit by unavoidable natural corrosion. That sad day arrived," he said. Slashdot reader Duvzo notes that the landmark was featured in Clash of the Titans and Game of Thrones. It served as the backdrop to the Dothraki wedding scene in the Game of Thrones.

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Norway Says Half of New Cars Now Electric Or Hybrid

slashdot - Wed, 03/08/2017 - 22:40
AmiMoJo quotes a report from Phys.Org: Norway, which already boasts the world's highest number of electric cars per capita, said Monday that electric or hybrid cars represented half of new registrations in the country so far this year. Sales of electric cars accounted for 17.6 percent of new vehicle registrations in January and hybrid cars accounted for 33.8 percent, for a combined 51.4 percent, according to figures from the Road Traffic Information Council (OVF). In February, those proportions fell slightly but remained high at 15.8 percent and 32 percent, respectively. While cars with combustion engines are heavily taxed, electric vehicles are exempt from almost all taxes. Their owners also benefit from numerous advantages such as free access to toll roads, ferries and parking at public car parks, as well as the possibility of driving in bus lanes.

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Apple Says It's Already Fixed Many WikiLeaks Security Issues

slashdot - Wed, 03/08/2017 - 22:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from USA Today: Apple says many of the vulnerabilities to its devices and software that came to light in WikiLeaks' revelations of CIA cyber weapons were already fixed in its latest updates. Late Tuesday, Apple emailed the following statement to USA TODAY: "Apple is deeply committed to safeguarding our customers' privacy and security. The technology built into today's iPhone represents the best data security available to consumers, and we're constantly working to keep it that way. Our products and software are designed to quickly get security updates into the hands of our customers, with nearly 80 percent of users running the latest version of our operating system. While our initial analysis indicates that many of the issues leaked today were already patched in the latest OS, we will continue work to rapidly address any identified vulnerabilities. We always urge customers to download the latest iOS to make sure they have the most recent security updates." For its part, Samsung emailed its own statement Wednesday: "Protecting consumers' privacy and the security of our devices is a top priority at Samsung. We are aware of the report in question and are urgently looking into the matter."

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Google Can Now Recognize Objects in Videos Using Machine Learning

slashdot - Wed, 03/08/2017 - 21:20
Google has found a new way to allow software to parse video. On Wednesday, the company announced "Video Intelligence API", which is able to identify objects in a video. From a report: By playing a short commercial, the API was able to identify the dachshund in the video, when it appeared in the video, and then understand that the whole thing was a commercial. In another demo, we saw a simple search for "beach" and was able to find videos which had scenes from beaches in them, complete with timestamps. That's similar to how Google Photos lets you search for "sunset" and pull up your best late-day snapshots. Before now, computers couldn't really understand the content of a video directly without manual tagging. "We are beginning to shine light on the dark matter of the digital universe," Fei-Fei Li, chief scientist of artificial intelligence and machine learning at Google Cloud, said. At least in Google's demo, it was genuinely impressive. And Google is making the API available to developers, just as it has with its other machine learning APIs.

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Hyperloop Firm Eyes Indonesia For Ultra-Fast Transport System

slashdot - Wed, 03/08/2017 - 20:40
An anonymous reader shares a CNBC report: Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), one of the companies developing the futuristic transport service dreamed up by billionaire Elon Musk, said it was exploring Indonesia as a potential site to put one of its tracks. The so-called "feasibility study" contract is worth $2.5 million and will look into whether a hyperloop system would work initially in the capital Jakarta, and then connecting Java and Sumatra. A hyperloop would work by propelling pods through a large tube at speeds of 750 mph using magnets. It is seen as a solution to long distance travel, but also alleviating congestion in many cities. Jakarta is the world's third-worst city for traffic, according to a study by navigation from TomTom released earlier this year.

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The Quest To Crystallize Time - Previously Considered Impossible, Researchers Create Time Crystals

slashdot - Wed, 03/08/2017 - 20:02
New submitter omaha393 writes: Researchers have addressed a perplexing issue in physics: the existence of time crystals. Time crystals, previously only hypothetical in nature, are structures that oscillate without any external energy supplied. The idea of time crystals set off a massive feud among physicists, arguing that such a state of matter could not exist. As leading time crystal proponent Frank Wilczek describes it: "conceptually, it is a clock that ticks forever without being wound." With the paper published in Nature Wednesday, researchers showed their method of production and the unusual nature of time crystals, which owe their oscillation properties to never achieving a state of equilibrium. From a report on Phys.org: Ordinary crystals such as diamonds, quartz or ice are made up of molecules that spontaneously arrange into orderly three-dimensional patterns. The sodium and chlorine atoms in a crystal of salt, for example, are spaced at regular intervals, forming a hexagonal lattice. In time crystals, however, atoms are arranged in patterns not only in space, but also in time. In addition to containing a pattern that repeats in space, time crystals contain a pattern that repeats over time. One way this could happen is that the atoms in the crystal move at a certain rate. Were a time crystal of ice to exist, all of the water molecules would vibrate at an identical frequency. What is more, the molecules would do this without any input from the outside world. [...] Shivaji Sondhi, a Princeton professor of physics said that the work addresses some of the most fundamental questions about the nature of matter. "It was thought that if a system doesn't settle down and come to equilibrium, you couldn't really say that it is in a phase. It is a big deal when you can give a definition of a phase of matter when the matter is not in equilibrium," he said.

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