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Jul 20, 2018

Beets and carrots could lead to stronger and greener buildings

Posted by in categories: food, materials

According to engineers, root vegetables aren’t only good for the body. Their fibres could also help make concrete mixtures stronger and more eco-friendly.

Construction projects have a significant impact on our environment. To combat this, stakeholders in the academic and industrial sectors have been looking for ways to make the industry more environment friendly. The EU-funded project B-SMART will be contributing to these efforts by focusing on concrete and the more culpable of its ingredients: cement.

Led by Lancaster University in the United Kingdom, the project will be investigating how nanoplatelets extracted from the fibres of can make concrete mixtures more robust and more environment friendly. So far, initial tests have shown that adding nanoplatelets from sugar beet or carrot to these mixtures greatly enhances the mechanical properties of concrete.

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Jul 20, 2018

Team suggests a way to protect autonomous grids from potentially crippling GPS spoofing attacks

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cybercrime/malcode, drones, engineering, internet, robotics/AI

Not long ago, getting a virus was about the worst thing computer users could expect in terms of system vulnerability. But in our current age of hyper-connectedness and the emerging Internet of Things, that’s no longer the case. With connectivity, a new principle has emerged, one of universal concern to those who work in the area of systems control, like João Hespanha, a professor in the departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering at UC Santa Barbara. That law says, essentially, that the more complex and connected a system is, the more susceptible it is to disruptive cyber-attacks.

“It is about something much different than your regular computer virus,” Hespanha said. “It is more about cyber physical systems—systems in which computers are connected to physical elements. That could be robots, drones, smart appliances, or infrastructure systems such as those used to distribute energy and water.”

In a paper titled “Distributed Estimation of Power System Oscillation Modes under Attacks on GPS Clocks,” published this month in the journal IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement, Hespanha and co-author Yongqiang Wang (a former UCSB postdoctoral research and now a faculty member at Clemson University) suggest a new method for protecting the increasingly complex and connected power grid from attack.

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Jul 20, 2018

Safe solid-state lithium batteries herald ‘paradigm shift’ in energy storage

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, energy

The race to produce safe, powerful and affordable solid-state lithium batteries is accelerating and recent announcements about game-changing research using a solid non-flammable ceramic electrolyte known as garnet has some in the race calling it revolutionary.

“This is a paradigm shift in ,” said Kelsey Hatzell, assistant professor of mechanical engineering. A paper – “The Effect of Pore Connectivity on Li Dendrite Propagation Within LLZO Electrolytes Observed with Synchrotron X-ray Tomography” – describing her novel research on the failure points of a garnet was published online in March in the American Chemical Society’s Energy Letters, which was among the most read ACS Letters articles that month.

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Jul 20, 2018

Human influence detected in changing seasons

Posted by in categories: climatology, sustainability

For the first time, scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and five other organizations have shown that human influences significantly impact the size of the seasonal cycle of temperature in the lowest layer of the atmosphere.

To demonstrate this, they applied a so-called “fingerprint” technique. Fingerprinting seeks to separate human and natural influences on . It relies on patterns of climate change—typically patterns that are averaged over years or decades. But in the new research appearing in the July 20 edition of the journal Science, the team studied seasonal behavior, and found that human-caused warming has significantly affected the seasonal temperature cycle.

The researchers focused on the troposphere, which extends from the surface to roughly 16 kilometers in the atmosphere at the tropics and 13 kilometers at the poles. They considered changes over time in the size of the of at different locations on the Earth’s surface. This pattern provides information on temperature contrasts between the warmest and coldest months of the year.

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Jul 20, 2018

Cloud brightening, ‘sun shields’ to save Barrier Reef

Posted by in categories: climatology, sustainability

Australia announced plans Friday to explore concepts such as firing salt into clouds and covering swathes of water with a thin layer of film in a bid to save the embattled Great Barrier Reef.

The UNESCO World Heritage-listed , about the size of Japan or Italy, is reeling from two straight years of bleaching as rise because of .

Experts have warned that the 2,300-kilometre (1,400-mile) long area could have suffered irreparable damage.

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Jul 20, 2018

How to Make Your Wifi Router as Secure as Possible

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, internet

Though more router manufacturers are making routers easier to set up and configure—even via handy little apps instead of annoying web-based interfaces—most people probably don’t tweak many options after purchasing a new router. They log in, change the name and passwords for their wifi networks, and call it a day.

While that gets you up and running with (hopefully) speedy wireless connectivity, and the odds are decent that your neighbor or some random evil Internet person isn’t trying to hack into your router, there’s still a lot more you can do to boost the security of your router (and home network).

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Jul 20, 2018

Top Voting Machine Vendor Admits It Installed Remote-Access Software on Systems Sold to States

Posted by in category: security

Remote-access software and modems on election equipment ‘is the worst decision for security short of leaving ballot boxes on a Moscow street corner.’

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Jul 20, 2018

$800 Million Says a Self-Driving Car Looks Like This

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

Zoox has jokingly dubbed its prototype robot taxis “vaporware horseshit.”

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Jul 20, 2018

The Freedom of Life Extension

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

Life extension would allow everyone to enjoy a higher degree of freedom.


Freedom is a rather big deal in this age. We want freedom of speech, political freedom, press freedom, religious freedom, and freedom of choice over anything that may concern us directly. Different kinds of freedom are available in different amounts in different areas of the world, and while many people tend to see the glass half empty and complain that freedom is not equally distributed everywhere, it’s undeniable that we enjoy far greater liberty than previous generations. It’s not always easy to act upon your choices, and sometimes you’re free to choose in theory but not in practice, but overall, we enjoy options that who came before us couldn’t even dream of.

Take health, for example. Two hundred years back, if you didn’t want to get the flu, or any other infectious disease, you didn’t have the option not to do so. The mechanism through which infectious diseases manifest and spread wasn’t even remotely understood, so you didn’t have any idea what you should or shouldn’t do to minimize your risk of falling ill; basic hygiene wasn’t exactly a standard, and drugs and vaccines were nowhere in sight. If you actively wanted to do something to prevent getting the flu—which, at the time, might have killed you—you simply didn’t have this option.

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Jul 20, 2018

UK military aircraft technology

Posted by in categories: economics, government, military

We are immensely proud to continue a long tradition of aeronautical expertise that helps maintain security and defend nations as well as bringing significant economic, technological and skills benefits. The UK Government has launched its Combat Air Strategy at the 2018 Farnborough International Air Show with the aim of delivering the next generation of combat air capability by 2035.

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