SpaceX's 1st 'Block 5' Rocket: A Tale of 2 Launches
The first Block 5 booster sits atop Launchpad 39A, adjacent to the SpaceX hangar. Space reporter Amy Thompson documented its May 11 and Aug. 7 launches.
Credit: Amy Thompson/

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Back in May, I stood near a massive blue countdown clock as the minutes and seconds ticked away to zero. I was surrounded by fellow space reporters, a small group of whom traveled to Florida all the way from Bangladesh. The excitement built and built — and then the launch scrubbed. The Falcon 9 just wasn’t ready to fly that day. But the next day would be a different story. 

We all returned to our same viewing spot, adjacent to the countdown clock, and stared across the water at the sleek black-and-white Falcon 9 perched atop its launchpad, Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center. This time, everything proceeded as expected: When the clock hit zero, smoke billowed and bright flames lit up the sky as the Falcon roared to life. The sound waves that washed over us several seconds later were noticeably louder than expected, even for this experienced launch-watcher. That’s because this wasn’t an ordinary Falcon, but a souped-up version. 

Known as the Block 5, this is the final variant of SpaceX’s workhorse — meaning there will be no more major design changes. The design will stay the same from now on to help SpaceX achieve a major goal: rapid reusability. [See all our photos from the Block 5’s two launches]

The company already reuses the first stages of its spacecraft, but this iteration will take that to the next level. Previous versions of the Falcon 9 could be used only two or three times, which is an incredible accomplishment, but not enough for SpaceX founder Elon Musk. His plan is to make rockets more like commercial airplanes, capable of flying many times with no action (other than refueling) taken in between flights. According to Musk, the Block 5, which is a culmination of more than 10 years of development, will do just that.

To work toward that goal, SpaceX engineers outfitted this turbocharged Falcon with some sweet upgrades over its predecessors. The design changes — which include improved engines, a more durable interstage (the piece that connects the rocket’s two stages), titanium grid fins and a new thermal protection system — will help the booster hold up better to launch stresses. According to SpaceX, each Block 5 can fly 10 times or more times before requiring light refurbishments, and as many as 100 times before the booster is retired.

Musk has said that we will see a Block 5 launch, land and relaunch within the same day sometime next year. As the months tick away and the aerospace company focuses on its big task for the year, launching the first uncrewed test flight of the commercial crew program, that goal remains a lofty one. However, a more reasonable goal — one that SpaceX is close to achieving — is to see the same Block 5 booster launch more than two times in a year. 

Although it hasn’t reached that goal yet, I watched it get closer when I saw the same booster launch again. [Photos: SpaceX Launches, Lands 1st ‘Block 5’ Falcon 9 Rocket]

Following the first Block 5 launch on May 11, which placed Bangladesh’s first satellite — the Bangabandhu-1 — in orbit, SpaceX officials said they didn’t know when the recovered booster would fly again, as they would most likely take it apart and inspect it to make sure it performed as expected. So, it was a bit of a surprise when the company announced that the Bangabhandu-1 booster would fly again on Aug. 7, just 12 weeks later. 

That second launch, at Cape Canaveral’s Pad 40, may have been more of a spectacle than the first. It’s like with each launch the booster tries to outshine itself. Sitting in folding chairs on a causeway across the water from the launchpad, a group of space reporters waited. The Milky Way was barely visible overhead. One spectator even brought a telescope, and we peeked at Mars — which shined above like a glowing copper orb — before turning the scope to the launchpad. 

The Falcon appeared upside down in the viewfinder but stood ready to launch. We could see what looked like breath emanating from the rocket as the last of the cryogenic fuels that power the rocket were loaded. As the clock hit zero, the night sky lit up bright orange as the Falcon roared to life. Its engines were just as unexpectedly loud as they were the first time. But unlike its first trip to space, which was a bit more dramatic with several holds and a scrub, this flight went off right at the beginning of the window.

As the Falcon climbed to space, the glow from its engines could be seen for several minutes. Surprisingly, after the booster separated from the upper stage and started its descent, far in the distance, we could see the Falcon’s engines ignite for the first of its multiple planned landing burns. Cheers erupted over the loudspeaker as confirmation came in that the booster had touched down on the drone ship a second time.

SpaceX’s successful launch and landing of the Block 5 booster (on the company’s East Coast-based drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You“) with so little time in between is a huge step toward quicker re-flight times.

In another surprising twist, and before the second landing was confirmed a success, the SpaceX launch webcast seemed to suggest that this booster would fly a third time before the end of the year. (Good thing it stuck its landing). Though which mission that booster will be used on hasn’t been announced yet.

A few days after its second flight, the booster stood proudly perched on the deck of the drone ship as it made its way back to port. I stood with a crowd of rocket enthusiasts on the docks, welcoming B1046 (a designation given by SpaceX to identify the booster), some of the space buffs tracking the ship it rode in on to ensure they would get the first glimpse as it peeked over the horizon. 

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In vivo SPECT/CT images of 99mTc-HMPAO-ENVs injected in mice.

Exosomes known as nano-sized extracellular vesicles attracted recent interests due to their potential usefulness in drug delivery. Amid remarkable advances in biomedical applications of exosomes, it is crucial to understand in vivo distribution and behavior of exosomes. Here, researchers from  Seoul National University College of Medicine developed a simple method for radiolabeling of macrophage-derived exosome-mimetic nanovesicles (ENVs) with (99m)Tc-HMPAO under physiologic conditions and monitored in vivo distribution of (99m)Tc-HMPAO-ENVs using SPECT/CT in living mice. ENVs were produced from the mouse RAW264.7 macrophage cell line and labeled with (99m)Tc-HMPAO for 1 hr incubation, followed by removal of free (99m)Tc-HMPAO. SPECT/CT images were serially acquired after intravenous injection to BALB/c mouse. When ENVs were labeled with (99m)Tc-HMPAO, the radiochemical purity of (99m)Tc-HMPAO-ENVs was higher than 90% and the expression of exosome specific protein (CD63) did not change in (99m)Tc-HMPAO-ENVs. (99m)Tc-HMPAO-ENVs showed high serum stability (90%) which was similar to that in phosphate buffered saline until 5 hr. SPECT/CT images of the mice injected with (99m)Tc-HMPAO-ENVs exhibited higher uptake in liver and no uptake in brain, whereas mice injected with (99m)Tc-HMPAO showed high brain uptake until 5 hr. This noninvasive imaging of radiolabeled-ENVs promises better understanding of the in vivo behavior of exosomes for upcoming biomedical application.

In vivo SPECT/CT images of 99mTc-HMPAO-ENVs injected in mice.

After intravenous injection of 99mTc-HMPAO-ENVs or 99mTc-HMPAO, SPECT/CT images were acquired at 30 min, 3 hr, and 5 hr in BALB/c mice. (a) The SPECT/CT imaging showed the significantly intense uptake of 99mTc-HMPAO-ENVs in the liver and radioactivity in the salivary glands and intestine until 5 hr. (b) In contrast, high brain uptake and the delayed salivary glands uptake were observed in 99mTc-HMPAO-injected mouse group.

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The online game “Fortnite” has become a smash hit.

Days after “Fortnite” said it would launch an Android app but circumvent Alphabet Inc.’s app store, Google found a major security flaw in the Android version of the game and publicly exposed both the flaw and a request to keep it quiet.

The flaw has since been repaired by Tencent Holdings Inc. TCEHY, +2.16%  -backed Epic Games Inc., which asked Alphabet GOOGL, +1.28% GOOG, +1.27% not to disclose the information for 90 days. Google engineers refused and published the details of the exploit Friday — a week later — as well as the exchange with Epic’s developers.

When app makers circumvent the Alphabet-owned Google Play Store — or Apple Inc.’s AAPL, +0.31%  similar app store — they avoid paying a 30% fee on sales made through their apps, but they do not receive some services included in the fee. “Fortnite” is the most high-profile instance of a developer publicly avoiding the Play Store while launching an Android app, but Friday’s security disclosure is now the most high-profile demonstration of the risks associated with that strategy.

AndroidCentral first reported the news late Friday.

Epic Chief Executive Tim Sweeney has praised open platforms like Android and even said he doesn’t take issue with digital stores for console games. But Google’s control over Android is another story, he has said, because he believes Google isn’t making the same amount of effort to market titles to consumers: So if Epic can avoid it, why not do so?

Don’t miss: How ‘Fortnite’ cracked the code to become the most successful free videogame ever

Instead of offering the app in Google’s Play Store, Epic offered it only as a direct download from the internet. After it was publicly posted on Aug. 9, Google researchers tested it and found the flaw, a serious one that would let any app on an Android phone download and run software without a user knowing.

Epic fixed the bug about a day after learning about it, or six days after “Fornite” officially launched on Android. Users who downloaded the installer for “Fortnite” have likely already received an automatic fix Epic rolled out, but it’s unclear how many people downloaded the flawed Android app or if hackers had made use of the exploit. The Google security team also included a proof-of-concept video demonstrating how people could exploit the bug.

See also: ‘Fortnite’ more important than cryptocurrency to large companies during earnings season

“Fortnite” may need the Android app to re-energize the hugely lucrative free-to-play game. “Fortnite” sales grew at a slower rate in July compared to the prior month, according to research published this week by SuperData, despite the launch of a new season. The free-to-play battle royale game became an outsize success in recent months, and has raked in millions of dollars a month on cosmetic upgrades and subscription sales.

Google and Epic did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment Friday afternoon.

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The Nano Millenium heterojunction transistors


S. Luryi
Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, SUNY at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY 11794-2350, U.S.A
J. M. Xu
Division of Engineering, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, U.S.A.
A. Zaslavsky

Division of Engineering, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, U.S.A.
This book is a brainchild of the third workshop (FTM-3) in the Future Trends in Microelectronics series. The first of the FTM conferences, “Reflections on the Road to Nanotechnology” had gathered in 1995 on Ile de Bendor, a beautiful little mediterranean French island. The second FTM, “Off the Beaten Path” took place in 1998 on a larger island in the same area, Ile des Embiez. Instead of going to a still larger island, FTM-3 “The Nano Millenium” went back to its origins on Ile de
Bendor in 2001. To compensate, the next FTM is planned on the biggest island of them all, Corsica. Normally the FTM workshops gather every three years; however, the FTM-4 will take place one year ahead of the usual schedule, in the summar of 2003, as one time exception.
TheFTM workshopsarerelativelysmall gatherings(lessthan100 people)by
invitation only. If you, the reader, wish to be invited, please consider following a few simple steps outlined on the conference website. The website at contains links to all past and planned workshops in the series, their programs, publications, sponsors, and, of course, attendees. Our attendees have been an illustrious lot. Suffice is to say that among FTM participants we find four Nobel laureates (Zhores Alferov, Herbert Kroemer,
Horst Stormer, and Klaus Von Klitzing, of which the former three have received their Nobels after attending FTM)and countless others poised for a similar distinction. To be sure, high distinction is not a pre-requisite for being invited to FTM but the ability and desire to bring fresh ideas is. All participants of FTM-3 can be considered authors of this book, which in a sense is a collective treatise.
The main purpose of FTM workshops is to provide forum for a free-spirited exchange of views among the leading professionals in Industry, Academia, and Government. It is a common view among the leading professionals in microelectronics is that its current explosive development will likely lead to profound paradigm shifts in the near future.

Identifying the plausible scenarios for the future evolution of microelectronics presents a tremendous opportunity for
constructive action today.For better or worse our civilization is destined to be based on electronics.
(PDF) Future Trends in Microelectronics : The Nano Millennium. Available

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The Discovery
The Disks of Baian-Kara-Ula – …they came from the stars

The Hunt 

It all began in 1937-1938, in the mountains of Baian-Kara-Ula, the remote, uninviting slopes located on the border that divides China and Tibet.

An archaeological expedition, led by the highly respected Chi Pu Tei, discovered a number of unique cave burial sites. What he and his team found in these previously unknown caves would soon be considered as something highly unusual.


Chi Pu Tei, mountains of Baian-Kara-Ula

For many it would represent one of the greatest discoveries of the century, and change everything they perceived about their distant past and their origins as a people.

Those who believed in the Genesis of the Bible only saw the so-called “scientific evidence” as possible proof of another creation of God intruding into Mankind’s domain.

By faith, this domain and any other living, thinking beings came from the one God worshiped by Christian and Jew alike. 


The Caves 

Chi Pu Tei, a professor of archaeology at Beijing University, directed the archaeological survey of a series of interlinking caves. In a report he noted that the “caves” may have been artificially carved, and were more like a complex system of tunnels and underground storerooms.

The walls were squared and glazed, as if cut into the mountain with a source of extreme heat. Inside the caves were several ancient, but neatly arranged burial sites, and in them the skeletal remains of a people; a strange people.





The Skeletons 


The skeletons, measuring a little more than four feet tall, were found “frail and spindly” with “disproportionately large” skulls.

At first it was suggested that these might be the remains of an unknown species of mountain gorilla. Fellow researchers initially ridiculed Tei’s published findings. The concept of gorillas burying their young was preposterous, but that left one important question to ponder:

“What kind of human beings could these people have been?”

“Were they human at all?”

More discoveries made deeper in the connecting caves eliminated the possibility that apes had lived there.

On the walls carved pictograms of the heavens were found. The Earth, the sun, the moon, and the stars were there, and all were connected by pea-sized dots.

It was obvious that the pictures were meant to be a map or chart of some kind, and that they were created by intelligent beings.


he Discovery 

The team then made what was called “the most incredible discovery of all.”

Dzopa or "Dropa

Half buried in the dirt floor of each cave they found unusual disks, originally referred to as “odd stone disks” and described as “obviously fashioned by the hand of an intelligent creature.”

These disks were approximately nine inches in diameter and three-quarters of an inch thick.

In the exact center was a perfectly round 3/4 inch hole, and etched into its face was a fine groove spiraling out from the center to the rim, making the disk look like some kind of “primitive phonograph record.” 

One of the best preserved disks was dated to between 10,000 and 12,000 years BC old, older by far than even the oldest estimates of the age of the great pyramids of Egypt.

This was incredible news, but what was to come would be even more remarkable. A final total of 716 such plates were found, and each held its own mystery.

The grooves, upon closer inspection, were not grooves at all, but a continuous line of an unknown writing! 




                            The Meeting

Shortly after World War II, a Polish professor named Lolladoff showed one of the ‘stone disks’ to British scientist Dr. Karyl Robin-Evans, who helped bring the story to the western world.

Lolladoff claimed to have bought the disk in Mussorie in Northern India and that it was supposed to be from a mysterious people called the “Dzopa” (or “Dropa”) who had used it for religious rituals.

Robin-Evans would follow the trail of the Dropa to its origins, and was able to take a rare photograph of the Dropa leaders in 1947 (below image).
His visit with the Dalai Lama was legendary, and provided a wealth of information on the reclusive, unique tribe of people. 


Dalai Lama with Dr. Evans

The Translation 

Many experts tried to translate the hieroglyphs in the 20 years the disc lay in Peking.
They all failed. It was not until another professor, Dr. Tsum Um Nui, broke the code and started to decipher the ‘speaking grooves’ that the full implications of the disc were realized. Realized, that is, only by a select few. The outside world remained in ignorance.
For the professor’s conclusions on the meaning of the disc were so shattering that they were officially suppressed.
The stone disks told an astonishing story of a ‘space probe’ by the inhabitants of another planet which came to crash in the Bayan-Kara-Ula mountain range. The strange, spiral script told how the peaceful intentions of the ‘aliens’ had been misunderstood, and how many of them were hunted down and killed by members of the Ham tribe, who lived in the neighboring caves. 

The Dropas ruling couple (1947)
Hueypah-La (4 ft. tall) and
Veez-La (3 ft. 4 in. tall)
According to Nui, one of the lines of the hieroglyphs read,
“The Dropas came down from the clouds in their aircraft. The men, women and children of the neighboring peoples (Ham) hid in the caves ten times before sunrise.
When at last they understood the sign language of the Dropas, they realized that the newcomers had peaceful intentions…”
Another section of the writings expressed ‘regret’ by the Ham tribe that the aliens’ spaceship had crash-landed in such a remote and inaccessible mountains and that there had been no way of building a new one to enable the Dropas to return to their own planet.
In the years since the discovery of the first disk, archeologists and anthropologists had learned more about the isolated Bayan-Kara-Ula area.
Much of what they learned seemed to corroborate the bizarre story recorded on the discs. Legend still preserved in the area spoke of small, gaunt, yellow faced men who ‘came from the stars, long, long ago’. 

The men had huge, bulging heads and puny bodies and were so ugly and repellent that they were hunted down by local tribesmen on horseback.
Strangely, the description of the ‘invaders’ tallied with the skeletons originally discovered in the caves by Professor Chi Pu Tei.
As incredible as the Chinese disk story may be, there is more! On February 26, 1967, the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner ran an article about the Dropas. Part of it follows…


The Dropas ruling couple (1947)
Hueypah-La (4 ft. tall) and Veez-La (3 ft. 4 in. tall) Aliens



The Riddle

“Riddle of Asian Stone Discs from Outer Space”
(original newspaper headline)

Russian archaeologists are puzzling over a remarkable collection of stone discs, thousands of years old, found in the mountains bordering China and Tibet. So hard is it to explain them in terms of earthly experience that the archaeologists do not rule out the possibility that the discs may have come from outer space.

A total of 716 discs, like Stone Age gramophone records have been picked up in recent years by men exploring caves in the Bayan-Kara- Ula mountain range, reports the Soviet Union’s new English-language magazine, Sputnik.

Each disc has a central hole and irregular grooves spiraling out to the edge, but the report says (quite seriously) that the groves are not sound tracks. It is thought that they are some form of ancient writing, but scientists have so far failed to decipher them.

Chinese archaeologists estimate that the discs are about 12,000 years old, but have made no headway at all in trying to explain their purpose or how they came to be in the caves.

The Russians, who have examined some of the discs in a Moscow laboratory, claim to have made two important discoveries. One is that the discs contain certain traces of metal; particularly cobalt. Secondly, when placed on a special turntable they hummed in an unusual rhythm like an electrical charge was passing through them.

The Russian Zaitsev, who has spent 30 years collecting evidence that intelligent beings from outer space have had contact with the earth, believes that the discs may give substance to ancient Chinese legends of small, gaunt, yellow-faced men who came down from the clouds many centuries ago…

Drawings on the cave walls portrayed beings with round helmets, and drawings of the sun, moon and stars were shown with interconnecting rows of dots.

The interconnecting dots could possibly portray the routes traveled by the ancestors of the beings in the graves or might have been drawn to show the outerspace origin of the ones who perished there in the cave …

The Legend

In 1968 the Russian scientist W. Saitsew published a paper which raised a lot of interest in the subject of nonterrestrians visiting earth in the past. Some of the information presented in his paper were based on the work which Professor Tsum Um Nui had done in 1962.

For several years, nothing was heard of the disks. Then, in 1974, an Austrian engineer named Ernst Wegener came upon two of the disks in the Banpo Museum in Xian.

The museum director could tell him nothing about the disks, which had begun to deteriorate, but she allowed him to touch one of them and to photograph them. He did so, but he had only a Polaroid camera with him. These photos are the ones that we see often reprinted today.

In 1994, when Hartwig Hausdorf was in China, he asked the current director of the Banpo Museum about the disks and was told that they had disappeared.

In 1995 China released the following news report:

“In the province of Sichuan, which lies on the eastern border of the Baian-Kara-Ula mountains, 120 people of a previously ethnologically unclassified tribe have been discovered.

The most important aspect of this new tribe is the size of its people: No taller than 3 ft. 10 in., the smallest adult measuring only 2 ft. 1 in!

This discovery might be the first hard evidence on the existence of the Dropa/Dzopa – a people whose predecessors are said to have come from the stars.”

Today, the isolated area between Tibet and China is inhabited by two tribes of people who, in fact, call themselves the Dropa and the Ham.

Once enemies, these two tribes now co-exist peacefully. Anthropologists have been unable to categorize either tribe into any other known race; they are neither Chinese nor Tibetan. Both tribes are of pygmy stature, adults measuring between 3-foot-6 and 4-foot-7 with an average height of 4-foot-2, and body weights of 38 to 52 pounds.

They are yellow-skinned with thin bodies and disproportionately large heads, corresponding to the skeletal remains found in the caves in 1938. They have sparse hair on their bodies and have large eyes that are not Asian in aspect, but have pale blue irises. The Dropa people and their talking stone disks remain as mysterious today as they did in the late 1930s.

Many researcher feel that the Dropa stone disks are definitive proof of an alien race that “came from the stars.”

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Apple is planning a new low-cost MacBook, pro-focused Mac mini
A person plays with the Touch Bar on a new MacBook laptop in a showroom after the announcement of new products at Apple’s general offices in Cupertino, California in October 2016. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP)
Mark Gurman, Debby Wu

Apple will release a new low-cost laptop and a professional-focused upgrade to the Mac mini desktop later this year, ending a drought of Mac computers that has limited sales of the company’s longest-running line of devices, according to people familiar with the plans.

The new laptop will look similar to the current MacBook Air, but will include thinner bezels around the screen. The display, which will remain about 13-inches, will be a higher-resolution “Retina” version that Apple uses on other products, the people said. They asked not to be identified discussing products still in development. Apple spokesman Bill Evans declined to comment.

The current MacBook Air, which costs $1,000, remains Apple’s only laptop without a high-resolution screen. The MacBook Air was last updated with a faster processor option last year, but hasn’t seen a major overhaul in several years. The 12-inch MacBook launched in 2015 was seen as a replacement to the MacBook Air, but its $1,300 starting price put it out of reach for some consumers. The new MacBook Air will be geared toward consumers looking for a cheaper Apple computer, but also schools that often buy laptops in bulk.

When Apple releases new Macs in the fall, it often does so in October, following the launch of new iPhones. The company is planning to debut three new iPhones, Apple Watches with larger screens, and new iPad Pros later this year, other people familiar with the plans said.

The Mac has been a steady seller, representing more than 11 percent of Apple sales in the last fiscal year, ahead of the iPad. However, some loyal users have complained that recent updates haven’t met their professional needs. Apple has sought to address this by releasing a high-end iMac Pro and a new MacBook Pro with an updated keyboard and faster processor options.

Still, in the fiscal third quarter this year, the company said it sold 3.7 million Macs, the fewest in a quarter since 2010. And Apple lags other companies in the education market. Chromebooks, cheaper laptops running Google’s Chrome operating system, accounted for 60 percent of devices shipped to K-12 U.S. education institutions in the final quarter of 2017, according to Futuresource Consulting Ltd.

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The Atlantic hurricane season remains relatively quiet but the Pacific has been active.
NOAA Hurricane hunters flying into Hurricane Lane.NOAA

The Atlantic hurricane season remains relatively quiet but the Pacific has been active. As I write this, powerful Typhoon Soulik is threatening Japan and Hurricane Lane is a major hurricane that may now pose a threat to the United States this week. The latest models are projecting Hurricane Lane to move almost directly toward the islands of Hawaii, particularly some of the more populated areas. Here are five things that you need to know about Hurricane Lane.

Current Status (at the time of writing). At the 11 pm Hawaii Standard Time advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Lane had sustained winds of 150 mph and was moving westward at 12 mph. When sustained winds in a hurricane exceed 110 mph it is classified as a major hurricane. Lane is a powerful category 4 storm and the latest information from the National Hurricane Center says,

At 1100 PM HST (0900 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Lane was located by
aircraft near latitude 14.0 North, longitude 151.2 West. Lane is
moving toward the west near 12 mph (19 km/h) and this motion is
expected to continue through Tuesday, with some slowing in forward
speed. A gradual turn toward the northwest is expected Wednesday
into Thursday…..Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 40 miles (65 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles (205 km)……The estimated minimum central pressure is 950 mb (28.06 inches)………A Hurricane Watch may be required for portions of the main Hawaiian Islands on Tuesday.

Why Lane May Threaten Hawaii. According to hurricane forecasters, the weather forecast models have gradually converged to a solution that brings a northwest turn to Lane over the period Tuesday to Thursday (graphic above). By mid-week, Lane will be on the western side of an area of high pressure called a ridge, which will influence its more northwesterly trajectory. Initially this week, one of the more reliable models run by the Europeans was on the left side of the range of forecast tracks but has recently clustered with other models. The American GFS model (graphic below) brings Lane perilously close to the major islands by Thursday evening.

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Nano is the rebrand of a cryptocurrency that went by the name of RaiBlocks
Nano is the rebrand of a cryptocurrency that went by the name of RaiBlocks. RaiBlocks was founded on the idea that cryptocurrency wasn’t functional enough as currency, and Nano continues this fundamental idea. In this post, we tell you EVERYTHING you need to know about Nano cryptocurrency!

What is Nano?

Nano is the rebrand of a cryptocurrency that went by the name of RaiBlocks. The purpose behind the rebrand was because of issues with the pronunciation of the previous name, RaiBlocks, as the team detailed in this Medium post. RaiBlocks was founded on the idea that cryptocurrency wasn’t functional enough as currency, and Nano continues this fundamental idea.

Now, let’s discuss everything you need to know about Nano cryptocurrency!

Purpose of Nano

Nano seeks to make a cryptocurrency that is more of a currency. In the beginning of Bitcoin, the revolutionary cryptocurrency was incredibly functional as a currency. But, as more and more people flooded into Bitcoin, blocks began to fill up with transactions. Because these blocks are limited, they filled up. Because the amount of transactions Bitcoin could handle each second was fixed, getting one of these transactions on the block became a commodity.

As getting your transactions on the block became more challenging, the transaction fees began to increase more and more. While there are some ways that are being proposed to alleviate this problem, it’s obvious that there is an innate need for a scalable asset that doesn’t require a place on what is a limited block.


Technology of Nano

Proof of Work

Any cryptocurrency running on a blockchain requires some sort of mechanism to maintain consensus. Consensus is a process of validating legitimate transactions while preventing improper ones from succeeding. Bitcoin’s blockchain is kept up by miners that use GPUs and ASICs to validate transactions of BTC. This process is called Proof of Work. Proof of Work is an extremely useful way to secure a blockchain and maintain consensus, but it uses an extremely large amount of power.

For many reasons, Nano has decided to do away with Proof of Work in favor of the mechanisms below!

Proof of Stake

An alternative method to maintain consensus is called Proof of Stake. In a Proof of Stake protocol, people with ‘stake’ in the cryptocurrency maintain the network by running a node that votes to verify transactions. The more a miner owns of a cryptocurrency, the more power the person has in verifying these transactions. Because the people with higher amounts of the cryptocurrency have more power, they have more incentive to keep the system running properly. This method requires much less power, being able to be run on even low powered hardware.

This is the system Nano uses when a conflicting transaction occurs.

Nano’s Block Lattice

The way Nano is different from both of these consensus protocols is that they employ a system that when a transaction is not conflicting, there is no need for a vote on the transaction. For this reason, Nano’s transactions are incredibly fast, scalable, and completely feeless. Below is a picture taken directly from the original RaiBlocks Whitepaper about this mechanism.

During transactions, each sender and receiver creates their own block through a minor amount of work. These blocks are used to verify the transaction, and assuming there is no conflict, no other work is required. This mechanism is something Nano has coined ‘block lattice.’

Nano Proof of Stake Representatives

Nano’s Proof of Stake protocol is kept secure by a list of representatives. Any account holder of Nano is able to choose their own representative to vote on behalf of their transactions. This is required because not everyone will be able to run their own node on the network, meaning they will need someone else to participate in the balance-weighted vote for them should a conflict come up. This is outlined on the Nano Github, and a full list of Nano representatives can be found on their website.

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