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Aug 24, 2020

Please remain calm while the robot swabs your nose

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, robotics/AI

Taiwanese medtech firm Brain Navi has created a robot that autonomously swabs your nose as part of a test for COVID-19. The startup says the robot could make mass-testing faster and more reliable, but doctors say the machine might just be too scary for patients to bear.

Aug 24, 2020

Lockheed Martin Scores $62 Billion F-16 Sale

Posted by in category: military

Literally hundreds of shiny new fighter jets will take flight over the next decade.

Aug 24, 2020

This piece was written as part of the Artificial Intelligence and International Stability Project at the Center for a New American Security

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, security

This piece was written as part of the Artificial Intelligence and International Stability Project at the Center for a New American Security, an independent, nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. Funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York, the project promotes thinking and analysis on AI and international stability. Given the likely importance that advances in artificial intelligence could play in shaping our future, it is critical to begin a discussion about ways to take advantage of the benefits of AI and autonomous systems, while mitigating the risks. The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not represent positions of IEEE Spectrum or the IEEE.

AI deception: when your artificial intelligence learns to lie.

Aug 24, 2020

New Bluetooth Vulnerability: Hackers Could Spy on You

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, encryption, mobile phones


Millions of us use Bluetooth wireless communications every day—to make phone calls when driving, with our fitness trackers, streaming at work or play. Innocent enough, seemingly. But no technology comes without a warning: a recently discovered Bluetooth vulnerability allows hackers to spy on your conversations or take control of your smart phone. The vulnerability deals with the encryption between two devices. It even has a name—a KNOB hack (Key Negotiation Of Bluetooth).

This is not the first time Bluetooth has been hacked and it likely won’t be the last. And this one has its limitations. To take advantage of the KNOB vulnerability the hacker has to be in close proximity of your phone. There is also currently no evidence that this vulnerability has been exploited maliciously.

Continue reading “New Bluetooth Vulnerability: Hackers Could Spy on You” »

Aug 24, 2020

Genetic Variants May Explain High Levels of Antibodies Against Epstein-Barr Virus in MS, Study Suggests

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, neuroscience

Genetic variants may contribute to increased levels of antibodies against proteins of the Epstein-Barr virus — a known environmental risk factor for multiple sclerosis (MS) — in MS patients and their siblings, a study suggests.

The study, “EBNA-1 titer gradient in families with multiple sclerosis indicates a genetic contribution,” was published in the journal Neurology, Neuroimmunology and Neuroinflammation.

Aug 24, 2020

A No-Nonsense Explanation of How the Higgs Gives Particles Their Masses

Posted by in category: particle physics

A simplified explanation of the higgs mechanism.

Aug 24, 2020

LHC creates matter from light

Posted by in category: particle physics

Scientists on an experiment at the Large Hadron Collider see massive W particles emerging from collisions with electromagnetic fields. How can this happen?

Aug 24, 2020

Martian Soil May Not Support Astronaut Agriculture

Posted by in categories: chemistry, food, space

In The Martian, Matt Damon’s character is able to survive being marooned on Mars by growing potatoes in the Martian soil. While fictional, this plot point reflects a real need for in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) to support long-term human space exploration missions. A new study by a team from the Florida Institute of Technology suggests that the Martian soil may be more hostile to plant life than previously thought and that the capability of growing Martian potatoes will require additional development to make agriculture feasible.

The researchers studied three examples of Martian regolith simulants. These simulants are produced from materials found on Earth to reproduce the mineralogy and chemistry of the soil we expect to find on Mars. They found that none of these simulants were able to support plant life on their own, partly due to nitrogen deficiency, and only two were able to do so when nutrient supplements were added. More crucially, none of these simulants could support plant life at all when calcium perchlorate — a common, and toxic, substance on Mars’s surface — was added. Their results suggest that any scheme for ISRU agriculture on the surface of Mars must plan to remediate, or otherwise avoid, the toxic effects of perchlorate before attempting an extraterrestrial harvest.

Aug 24, 2020

New fastest Internet speed: 178 Tbps

Posted by in categories: innovation, internet

Scientists at University College London have achieved a data transmission rate of 178 terabits per second (tbps) – a speed at which you could download the entire Netflix library in less than a second.

The breakthrough involved a collaboration between University College London (UCL) and two companies, Xtera and KDDI Research. The technology used a much wider range of colours of light, or wavelengths, than is typically found in optical fibre. Most of today’s infrastructure has a limited spectrum bandwidth of 4.5THz, with 9THz commercial systems entering the market. The researchers in this study, however, used a bandwidth of 16.8THz.

The hyperfast speed – around three million times faster than conventional broadband – was made possible by combining different “amplifier” technologies to boost signals over this wider bandwidth, and then maximised by developing new Geometric Shaping (GS) constellations. The latter are signal combinations that make best use of the phase, brightness and polarisation properties of light, manipulating the properties of each individual wavelength.

Aug 24, 2020

Fires are raging in the Amazon—again

Posted by in category: futurism

The Amazon is burning again, and the fires this year could be even more devastating than in 2019.