Unbound: No 168
By Barbara Bickham profile image Barbara Bickham
6 min read

Unbound: No 168

AI And Crypto Can Help Each Other Improve by Sean Stein Smith | Forbes Digital Assets Technology moves in cycles, and while AI might have superseded blockchain and cryptoassets in some circles and market discussions, the reality is that these field are increasingly inter-related. An example of this that has come

AI And Crypto Can Help Each Other Improve
by Sean Stein Smith | Forbes Digital Assets

Photo by DrawKit Illustrations on Unsplash

Technology moves in cycles, and while AI might have superseded blockchain and cryptoassets in some circles and market discussions, the reality is that these field are increasingly inter-related. An example of this that has come to market recently is the paper by the Coinbase Institute, laying out the case for how blockchain and AI applications are incredibly well suited for working together. Yet another example, although one that has been controversial since launch – and more recently due to the drama surrounding Sam Altman – is the Worldcoin; a token powered and governed by AI. Headlines only tell part of the story, and the connections run deeper than just a few headlines.

5 Minute Read →

Toshiba hones quantum encryption as commercialization nears

by AYA ONISHI | Nikkei Asia

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

TOKYO -- With commercial quantum cryptography potentially as little as a few years away, Toshiba is forging ahead with research to develop secure communication services with a technology it has worked on for decades.

Toshiba is a global leader in the field. It has successfully sent and received quantum encrypted data transmitted 600 kilometers between Tokyo and Osaka, and started technology trials with Western financial institutions.

At Tuesday's Toshiba Open Sessions 2023 event, where the company showcases its latest technology, President Taro Shimada put particular emphasis on quantum encryption. "We'll partner with a diverse range of companies to create the world's most advanced technology, use cases and businesses," he said.

3 Minute Read →

What Other Industries Can Learn From The Vending Machine Industry
by Aslak de Silva | Forbes

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

Believe it or not, the vending machine industry has been a staple of convenience and automation for more than 2,000 years. The first-ever vending machine in history is recorded to have been created in Egypt. Its operation resembled that of contemporary vending machines; users would insert a coin, triggering a lever to dispense holy water for a brief period before the coin slid away and stopped the machine.

Today, these machines have come a long way from their humble beginnings, and as someone who works in this industry, I believe they can offer valuable lessons for various other sectors.

3 Minute Read →

🌙 NASA - Best Photo from Last Week
Globular Cluster Omega Centauri Looks Radiant in Infrared


A group of dead stars known as “spider pulsars” are obliterating companion stars within their reach. Data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory of the globular cluster Omega Centauri is helping astronomers understand how these spider pulsars prey on their stellar companions.

A pulsar is the spinning dense core that remains after a massive star collapses into itself to form a neutron star. Rapidly rotating neutron stars can produce beams of radiation. Like a rotating lighthouse beam, the radiation can be observed as a powerful, pulsing source of radiation, or pulsar. Some pulsars spin around dozens to hundreds of times per second, and these are known as millisecond pulsars.

Spider pulsars are a special class of millisecond pulsars, and get their name for the damage they inflict on small companion stars in orbit around them. Through winds of energetic particles streaming out from the spider pulsars, the outer layers of the pulsar’s companion stars are methodically stripped away.

Astronomers recently discovered 18 millisecond pulsars in Omega Centauri — located about 17,700 light-years from Earth — using the Parkes and MeerKAT radio telescopes. A pair of astronomers from the University of Alberta in Canada then looked at Chandra data of Omega Centauri to see if any of the millisecond pulsars give off X-rays.

They found 11 millisecond pulsars emitting X-rays, and five of those were spider pulsars concentrated near the center of Omega Centauri. The researchers next combined the data of Omega Centauri with Chandra observations of 26 spider pulsars in 12 other globular clusters.


X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI/AURA; Image Processing: NASA/CXC/SAO/N. Wolk

There are two varieties of spider pulsars based on the size of the star being destroyed. “Redback” spider pulsars are damaging companion stars weighing between a tenth and a half the mass of the Sun. Meanwhile, the “black widow” spider pulsars are damaging companion stars with less than 5 percent of the Sun’s mass.

The team found a clear difference between the two classes of spider pulsars, with the redbacks being brighter in X-rays than the black widows, confirming previous work. The team is the first to show a general correlation between X-ray brightness and companion mass for spider pulsars, with pulsars that produce more X-rays being paired with more massive companions. This gives clear evidence that the mass of the companion to spider pulsars influences the X-ray dose the star receives.

The X-rays detected by Chandra are mainly thought to be generated when the winds of particles flowing away from the pulsars collide with winds of matter blowing away from the companion stars and produce shock waves, similar to those produced by supersonic aircraft.

Spider pulsars are typically separated from their companions by only about one to 14 times the distance between the Earth and Moon. This close proximity — cosmically speaking — causes the energetic particles from the pulsars to be particularly damaging to their companion stars.

This finding agrees with theoretical models that scientists have developed. Because more massive stars produce a denser wind of particles, there is a stronger shock — producing brighter X-rays — when their wind collides with the particles from the pulsar. The proximity of the companion stars to their pulsars means the X-rays can cause significant damage to the stars, along with the pulsar’s wind.

Chandra’s sharp X-ray vision is crucial for studying millisecond pulsars in globular clusters because they often contain large numbers of X-ray sources in a small part of the sky, making it difficult to distinguish sources from each other. Several of the millisecond pulsars in Omega Centauri have other, unrelated X-ray sources only a few arc seconds away. (One arc second is the apparent size of a penny seen at a distance of 2.5 miles.)

The paper describing these results will be published in the December issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, and a preprint of the accepted paper is available online. The authors of the paper are Jiaqi (Jake) Zhao and Craig Heinke, both from the University of Alberta in Canada.

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center manages the Chandra program. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s Chandra X-ray Center controls science operations from Cambridge, Massachusetts, and flight operations from Burlington, Massachusetts.

Read more from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.

For more Chandra images, multimedia and related materials, visit:

News Media Contact
Megan Watzke
Chandra X-ray Center
Cambridge, Mass.

Jonathan Deal
Marshall Space Flight Center
Huntsville, Ala.

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By Barbara Bickham profile image Barbara Bickham
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