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Sep 26, 2016

FBI Probes Dumping Of NSA Hack Tools On Public Site

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, privacy


National Security Agency says tools left exposed by mistake — and dumping by presumably Russia-backed hackers Shadow Brokers.

An FBI investigation into the public dumping of hacking tools used by the National Security Agency (NSA) to uncover security flaws in some networking vendor products is looking at how the tools were exposed on a remote computer, a Reuters report says, quoting people close to the investigation.

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Sep 26, 2016

Ghosts in the Machine: Female Computers in Science Fiction and History

Posted by in categories: computing, military, robotics/AI

When the computer is addressed in many science fiction shows, it often replies in a female-coded voice. From Majel Roddenberry’s Federation computer voice in the Star Trek series to the sentient ship AIs in Andromeda, Killjoys, Dark Matter, Outlaw Star, and Mass Effect, artificial intelligence has been a science fiction regular since at least the 1960’s. There are male-coded AIs as well—J.A.R.V.I.S., Hal, that weird Haley Joel Osment-bot from A.I.—but women have been part of humanity’s relationship with electric computers since the very beginning.

Jennifer S. Light’s article “When Computers Were Women” discusses the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) project during World War II, and how the people doing the actual computational tasks were a group of civilian and military women. The women were actually the “computers,” and were creating a machine that would someday replace them. The concept of the women as the actual computers made me think about how many artificial intelligences, whether in android form or integrated into actual ships, are coded female.

Light’s article also pointed out that history buried these early female computers. Their work was made light of, devalued, and all credit was given to the male inventors of ENIAC, reducing them practically to “ghost in the machine” status. This is where my mind made the connection. So many computer and AI characters are coded female because even layers of sexism and inequality still can’t erase the connection between the first “computers” being women and the task of computing. You can take the woman out of the workplace, but you can’t take the woman out of the machine she helped create.

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Sep 26, 2016

3D nanoprinting improves performance of atomic force microscopes

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, nanotechnology

Tiny sensors made through nanoscale 3D printing may be the basis for the next generation of atomic force microscopes. These nanosensors can enhance the microscopes’ sensitivity and detection speed by miniaturizing their detection component up to 100 times. The sensors were used in a real-world application for the first time at EPFL, and the results are published in Nature Communications.


The sensor is made up of highly conductive platinum nanoparticles surrounded by an insulating carbon matrix. (Image: EPFL)

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Sep 26, 2016

Single photon light emitting diodes for on-chip integration

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics

Researchers from the Graphene Flagship use layered materials to create an all-electrical quantum light emitting diodes (LED) with single-photon emission. These LEDs have potential as on-chip photon sources in quantum information applications.

Atomically thin LEDs emitting one photon at a time have been developed by researchers from the Graphene Flagship. Constructed of layers of atomically thin materials, including transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), graphene, and boron nitride, the ultra-thin LEDs showing all-electrical single photon generation could be excellent on-chip quantum light sources for a wide range of photonics applications for quantum communications and networks. The research, reported in Nature Communications, was led by the University of Cambridge, UK.

The ultra-thin devices reported in the paper are constructed of thin layers of different layered materials, stacked together to form a heterostructure. Electrical current is injected into the device, tunnelling from single-layer graphene, through few-layer boron nitride acting as a tunnel barrier, and into the mono- or bi-layer TMD material, such as tungsten diselenide (WSe2), where electrons recombine with holes to emit single photons. At high currents, this recombination occurs across the whole surface of the device, while at low currents, the quantum behaviour is apparent and the recombination is concentrated in highly localised quantum emitters.

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Sep 26, 2016

Google’s ‘worst’ self-driving accident was still a human’s fault

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

Google said that one of its self-driving cars was involved in an accident in Mountain View, California last week. The accident was first reported Friday by 9to5 Google, which characterized the incident as Google’s “worst accident yet.”

In a statement, Google insisted its driverless car was not at fault. A crash report with the DMV has yet to be posted, so all the details have yet to be confirmed.

According to the Google, the accident occurred when a vehicle heading west on El Camino Real in Mountain View ran a red light and collided with the right side of a Google self-driving vehicle that was traveling northbound on Phyllis Ave. “Our light was green for at least six seconds before our car entered the intersection,” a spokesperson said.

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Sep 26, 2016

Hubble might have just caught jets of water squirting out of Europa

Posted by in category: alien life

Jupiter’s moon Europa — a giant ice ball thought to hide twice as much liquid water as there is on Earth — just became an even hotter target in the search for aliens.

Scientists on Monday unveiled new photographs from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, and they likely show ‘fingers’ of water vapour squirting out of Europa’s hidden ocean and into space.

The grainy Hubble photos, taken in 2014, suggest water plumes occasionally shoot 125 miles (200 km) into space, then rain back down on the surface. If true, this would be Hubble’s second time catching Europa’s water plumes since 2012.

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Sep 26, 2016

World’s Largest Single-Dish Radio Telescope Begins Testing

Posted by in category: space

At 500 meters across—over 1,600 feet—the FAST project will gather data on the far reaches of the universe.

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Sep 26, 2016

Scientists “too frightened” to tell truth on climate impacts

Posted by in categories: climatology, sustainability

How do we get our scientists to overcome social prejudice and give the public the truth?

Professor Peter Wadhams says peers are failing in their duty through timidity, and warns China is planning huge land grabs as warming hits crop production2.

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Sep 26, 2016

Time Might Only Exist In Your Head. And Everyone Else’s

Posted by in categories: futurism, physics

To physics, time has no direction. Until you come along and give it a past, present, and future.

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Sep 26, 2016

Surprisingly simple scheme for self-assembling robots

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Small cubes with no exterior moving parts can propel themselves forward, jump on top of each other, and snap together to form arbitrary shapes. Watch Video

Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office October 4, 2013.

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