In just one hour, two Bell Labs scientists had a breakthrough that won the Nobel prize

Under the gun, Smith and Boyle went into an office and, in one hour, emerged with the basic plans for the CCD, the sensor still used in digital photography today. A CCD works like this: Light hits a tiny grid of photosensitive silicon cells, each which build a charge proportional to the intensity of the light hitting it. This charge can be measured precisely and we can know exactly how bright that portion should be. Add filters, and color can be discerned too.

Source: In just one hour, two Bell Labs scientists had a breakthrough that won the Nobel prize — and changed photography forever

Judge Kills AT&T’s Attempt to Slow Google Fiber in Louisville

A Federal Judge has shot down an AT&T lawsuit against the city of Louisville, one of several company bids to slow down Google Fiber’s arrival to the region. AT&T sued the city back in February of last year after Louisville streamlined its utility pole attachment rules to speed up the arrival of competing broadband services to the city. Incumbent ISPs have long abused the absurdly bureaucratic pole attachment process to slow competitors, and Louisville’s “one touch make ready” reforms streamlined the process significantly.

Source: Judge Kills AT&T’s Attempt to Slow Google Fiber in Louisville

A Solution of the P versus NP Problem

Berg and Ulfberg and Amano and Maruoka have used CNF-DNF-approximators to prove exponential lower bounds for the monotone network complexity of the clique function and of Andreev’s function. We show that these approximators can be used to prove the same lower bound for their non-monotone network complexity. This implies P not equal NP.

Source: [1708.03486] A Solution of the P versus NP Problem

More background at:  The P-versus-NP page

This page collects links around papers that try to settle the “P versus NP” question (in either way). Here are some links that explain/discuss this question:

Device That Revolutionized Timekeeping Receives an IEEE Milestone

Physicist James Clerk Maxwell was perhaps the first to recognize that atoms could be used to keep time. In 1879 he wrote to electricity pioneer William Thomson, suggesting that the “period of vibration of a piece of quartz crystal” would be a better absolute standard of time than the mean solar second (based on the Earth’s rotation) but would still depend “essentially on one particular piece of matter” and therefore would be “liable to accidents.” Maxwell theorized that atoms would work even better as a natural standard of time. Thomson wrote in the second edition of the Elements of Natural Philosophy, published in 1879, that hydrogen atoms, sodium atoms, and others were “absolutely alike in every physical property” and “probably remain the same so long as the particle itself exists.”

Source: Device That Revolutionized Timekeeping Receives an IEEE Milestone – IEEE – The Institute

The Digital Divide Isn’t Microsoft’s First Priority

But in urban areas all around the world where Microsoft wants to do business, the white spaces will be very useful for “smart city” devices and applications—remember, that’s Microsoft’s big idea. And if the US is already widely using those white spaces, the rest of the world will follow along—both in terms of policy and in terms of providing additional marketplaces for the white spaces ecosystem of manufacturers to sell into.

Source: The Digital Divide Isn’t Microsoft’s First Priority | WIRED

A pirating service for academic journal articles could bring down the whole establishment

That’s as it should be, advocates of open research say. They argue, among other things, that a substantial portion of the research that publishers attempt to lock behind paywalls was funded with grants paid for by taxpayers, and that the public should therefore have unfettered access to it.

Source: A pirating service for academic journal articles could bring down the whole establishment — Quartz

3 ISPs Have Spent $572 Million to Kill Net Neutrality Since 2008

Writer Andrew Jerell Jones also points out how Comcast-owned NBC News, CNBC and MSNBC can rarely be bothered to reveal their parent company’s lobbying on this subject, or in fact cover net neutrality in their news reporting much at all. Even purportedly “progressive” MSNBC has been frequently criticized for rarely talking about the subject.

Source: 3 ISPs Have Spent $572 Million to Kill Net Neutrality Since 2008 | DSLReports, ISP Information

Renewable energy is becoming so cheap the US will meet Paris commitments even if Trump withdraws

Globally, the price of solar panels has fallen 50% between 2016 and 2017, they write. And in countries with favorable wind conditions, the costs associated with wind power “can be as low as one-half to one-third that of coal- or natural gas-fired power plants.” Innovations in wind-turbine design are allowing for ever-longer wind blades; that boost in efficiency will also increase power output from the wind sector, according to Morgan Stanley.

Source: Renewable energy is becoming so cheap the US will meet Paris commitments even if Trump withdraws — Quartz

Giving perspective on systemd’s “usernames that start with digit get root privileges”-bug

So in order to trigger this behaviour, someone with root-level privileges needs to edit a Unit file and enter a “invalid username”, in this case one that starts with a digit.

But you need root level privileges to edit the file in the first place and to reload systemd to make use of that Unit file.

Source: Giving perspective on systemd’s “usernames that start with digit get root privileges”-bug

It’s an obvious bug (at least on RHEL/CentOS 7), since a valid username does not get accepted by systemd so it triggers unexpected behaviour by launching services as root.

However, it isn’t as bad as it sounds and does not grant any username with a digit immediate root access.