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Google lets you explore new heritage sites with help from the State Department

Engadget - Mon, 2022-04-18 08:05

The US Department of State is making it easier for people to explore cultural heritage sites from around the world thanks to a partnership with Google Arts & Culture. Announced as part of World Heritage Day, the dedicated section will let people virtually explore heritage sites from 1,100 Ambassadors Fund projects in over 130 countries around the world.

"Cultural heritage sites, objects, and traditions are a point of pride for people the world over, but they also require care and vigilance," wrote the US Department of State's Lee Satterfield. "That’s why the State Department’s Cultural Heritage Center works with governments and organizations to preserve and protect cultural heritage from both natural and man-made threats through the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP)."

This #worldheritageday, @heritageatstate has partnered with @googlearts to share our work protecting and preserving #culturalheritage in 130+ countries. #AFCP

— Heritage at State (@HeritageAtState) April 18, 2022

Some of the sites on display include the Wat Chaiwatthanaram at Ayutthaya in Thailand, the al-Imam al-Shafi’i Mausoleum in Egypt and the Ancient Nabataean Flash Flood Protection System at Petra. All told, the Cultural Heritage Center added over 100 new images of sites. Along with those, there's a story about cultural heritage preservation, complete with video and images, created by the US Department of State's Cultural Heritage Center.

The Cultural Heritage Center promised to update the site with future stories down the road. And since the biggest threat to heritage sites is climate change, it also pointed folks to Google Arts & Culture's Heritage on the Edge project. 

Best Portable Generators for 2022 - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-04-18 08:00
When the power goes out, these generators kick into gear to keep the essentials up and running.

Researchers break world record for quantum-encrypted communications

Engadget - Mon, 2022-04-18 06:43

Researchers in Beijing have set a new quantum secure direct communication (QSDC) world record of 102.2 km (64 miles), smashing the previous mark of 18 km (11 miles), The Eurasian Times reported. Transmission speeds were extremely slow at 0.54 bits per second, but still good enough for text message and phone call encryption over a distance of 30 km (19 miles), wrote research lead Long Guilu in Nature. The work could eventually lead to hack-proof communication, as any eavesdropping attempt on a quantum line can be instantly detected. 

QSDC uses the principal of entanglement to secure networks. Quantum physics dictates that entangled particles are linked, so that if you change the property of one by measuring it, the other will instantly change, too — effectively making hacking impossible. In theory, the particles stay linked even if they're light-years apart, so such systems should work over great distances. 

The same research team set the previous fiber record, and devised a "novel design of physical system with a new protocol" to achieve the longer distance. They simplified it by eliminating the "complicated active compensation subsystem" used in the previous model. "This enables an ultra-low quantum bit error rate (QBER) and the long-term stability against environmental noises." 

As a result, the system can withstand much more so-called channel loss that makes it impossible to decode encrypted messages. That in turn allowed them to extend the fiber from 28.3km to the record 102.2 km distance. "The experiment shows that intercity quantum secure direct communication through the fiber is feasible with present-day technology," the team wrote in Nature

Researchers in China previously made a secure quantum-enabled video call by satellite, but fiber poses a different set of challenges. "If we replace parts of the internet today, where more eavesdropping attacks happen, with quantum channels, those parts will have the added ability to sense and prevent eavesdropping, making communication even safer," said Long.