How Extreme Ultraviolet Light Helps Give Us Smarter Smartphones and Stronger Satellites | NIST


In 2019, after decades of effort, manufacturers used a new technology to create smartphones with individual circuit features as small as 7 nanometers (nm), or billionths of a meter, enabling them to cram 8.5 billion electronic devices known as transistors on a single small chip. Fitting more transistors in the same small space means faster, more powerful smartphones, computers and other electronic devices.

Where does the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) come into play here?

NIST was an early collaborator with those in the microelectronics industry who saw that it might be possible to use extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light to create electronic devices with smaller features like those we have today. This challenging goal was realized after a long, hard struggle.

Particle accelerators, such as the original electron synchrotron at the National Bureau of Standards (NBS, the agency that later was renamed NIST), were first developed about 80 years ago to study what was going on in the cores of atoms, known as nuclei. All such devices accelerate charged particles, a process that produces light (i.e., electromagnetic radiation), at first considered an unwanted byproduct. Back in 1961, scientists at NBS found that the light from their synchrotron, rather than being an unwanted source of energy loss, could be used to do some interesting experiments on atoms.

Source: How Extreme Ultraviolet Light Helps Give Us Smarter Smartphones and Stronger Satellites | NIST

Avionics Upgrade for U-2S to Feature Open Mission Systems


Lockheed Martin [LMT] recently received a $50 million Air Force contract for the Avionics Tech Refresh (ATR) program for the service’s fleet of 31 U-2S Dragon Lady reconnaissance planes–upgrades that will feature the first fleet-wide Open Mission Systems (OMS) fielding for the Air Force, the company said.

Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in Palmdale, Calif., is to modify the aircraft.

Source: Avionics Upgrade for U-2S to Feature Open Mission Systems

How the Illicit Drug Trade Is Adapting to the Coronavirus Pandemic


Once they spread widely, infectious diseases also disrupt the illicit drug trade at all stages of the supply chain, from the production of raw materials to the distribution on the street.

The current crisis, unprecedented as it may be, is no different. As a result, major organized crime groups are being forced to adapt their operations, with potentially far-reaching implications for consumers, policymakers and law enforcement agencies.

Source: How the Illicit Drug Trade Is Adapting to the Coronavirus Pandemic

How will the coronavirus change our lives?


We’re four weeks into the massive time-out forced on us by coronavirus. Many of us have spent much of that time trying to get used to the radical lifestyle change the virus has brought. But we’re also beginning to think about the end of the crisis, and what the world will look like afterward.

So it’s a good time to round up some opinions about how the pandemic might change how we think about various aspects of life and work. We asked some executives, venture capitalists, and analysts for thoughts on the specific changes they expected to see in their worlds.

Source: How will the coronavirus change our lives?

Stop calling covid-19 a war | Stripes


.. however familiar to Americans, war is the wrong metaphor for our response to this pandemic. The comparison advances a misunderstanding of what war entails. Moreover, the use of military rhetoric may change the course of our response to this crisis in profoundly unhelpful ways.

Because not only does war lead us to look for enemies and scapegoats, war solutions are directed from the top rather than resourced from local communities.

Source: Stop calling covid-19 a war – Stripes

Why the New Coronavirus Affects Some Animals, but Not Others | Smithsonian Magazine


Coronaviruses are notoriously indiscriminate infectors.

The number of different coronaviruses that exist in the wild number in at least the hundreds, with most likely inhabiting the bodies of bats. On the whole, members of this large family of viruses seem very capable of frequent hops into new species, including humans, making recent detections of SARS-CoV-2 in non-human animals somewhat unsurprising, says Linda Saif, a virologist and animal coronavirus expert at Ohio State University.

Already, a commonality in these cases has emerged: the molecular compatibility of the virus with its host.

To infect a cell, a virus must first break in. This encounter typically requires the pathogen to fit itself into a specific molecule, called a receptor, on the surface of its target cell. It’s a bit like a key opening a lock. Not all viral keys will work on a given cell’s lock, but the better the fit, the more easily the virus can gain access.

Source: Why the New Coronavirus Affects Some Animals, but Not Others | Science | Smithsonian Magazine

Why U.S. oil prices fell below zero.


In the latest sign that the world economy is collapsing into a black hole, the price of oil dropped below zero for the first time ever Monday, with futures for U.S. crude delivered in May wrapping up at negative $37.63 per barrel.

In practical terms, this means that anybody who is supposed to receive a shipment of American crude but doesn’t want it will have to pay somebody else to take it.

How come?

Because we are literally running out of places to put all of the extra oil we’re not using, because people have stopped driving, flying, or living any semblance of normal life while the country descends into a state of coronavirus-induced catatonia.

Source: Why U.S. oil prices fell below zero.

EU Commission will propose ‘borrowing’ to finance recovery plan: Dombrovskis | EURACTIV.com


The EU executive will propose borrowing from the markets in order to finance a recovery plan that will come on top of the EU budget, the European Commission’s vice-president for the economy, Valdis Dombrovskis, told EU lawmakers on Monday (20 April).

“We want to reinforce the financing capacity of the next MFF beyond what we have now,” Dombrovskis told MEPs, referring to the EU’s next seven-year budget, the so-called Multi-annual Financial Framework.

“For this, we will be setting up an additional fund and indeed, it would be financed from borrowing in the markets,” Dombrovskis told lawmakers on the European Parliament’s committee on regional development.

Source: EU Commission will propose ‘borrowing’ to finance recovery plan: Dombrovskis – EURACTIV.com

Global conspiracies, local panics | EURACTIV.com


The COVID-19 pandemic, disrupting societies, economies, families and persons alike, is compounded by a global contagion of rumours, conspiracies, fake news and other deadly narratives that, despite their appearance of being tailored to fit local characteristics, are strikingly similar at a transnational level, writes Alina Bargaoanu.

Do these conspiracies work? Can we blame their success on people’s imperfect cognitive mechanisms?

Or, as we argue, are they a symptom of the failure of political leadership, both national and trans-national, to provide for public goods in the information and communication field? Here is the Romanian case, which may offer insights into some more generalizable trends in the European Union and elsewhere.

Source: Global conspiracies, local panics – EURACTIV.com

EU aims to bar ‘predatory’ takeovers of weakened firms | EURACTIV.com


EU trade ministers vowed on Thursday (16 April) to protect strategic European companies weakened by the virus-triggered downturn from “predatory” takeovers.

A statement following the discussion held by videolink did not identify potential threats but participants later made it clear China was the main source of concern.

“With some companies having lost dozens of percentage points off their value, it is important that we can ensure there is no predatory takeover which would not be desirable,” France’s junior French foreign minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne told AFP.

Source: EU aims to bar ‘predatory’ takeovers of weakened firms – EURACTIV.com