How Blockchain Technology Could Track and Trace Food From Farm to Fork

IEEE standards working group is using the distributed ledger to improve and secure the supply chain

3 min read
Photo illustration of a magnifying glass over some vegetables showing bacteria.
Photo-illustration: iStockphoto

THE INSTITUTEDuring a foodborne-illness outbreak, identifying the root cause of the contamination can be difficult. The food supply chain includes a lot of players—farmers, distributors, processors, packagers, and grocers—often from different regions or even multiple countries. Each business in the chain has its own private record-keeping system; some still use pen and paper.

An E. coli outbreak in the United States that began in April—the largest in more than a decade—came from tainted romaine lettuce that sickened more than 200 people in 36 states. It took government investigators two months to track the lettuce back to a grower in Yuma, Ariz.

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The Ultimate Transistor Timeline

The transistor’s amazing evolution from point contacts to quantum tunnels

1 min read
A chart showing the timeline of when a transistor was invented and when it was commercialized.
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Even as the initial sales receipts for the first transistors to hit the market were being tallied up in 1948, the next generation of transistors had already been invented (see “The First Transistor and How it Worked.”) Since then, engineers have reinvented the transistor over and over again, raiding condensed-matter physics for anything that might offer even the possibility of turning a small signal into a larger one.

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