Tag Archives | Technology

The Bitcoin “Crisis” Explained and 5 Reasons it Can’t be Killed

BitcoinNear the end of last year, Bitcoin was being gobbled up at an unbelievable $1100 per coin. With a cursory glance, at today’s price ($500), you’d think that the Coca-Cola of cryptos is careening toward disaster. In order to understand why that’s not the case, you might need a quick recap on how we got to this juncture.

Via- Midwest Real

For Bitcoin, early 2014 was a PR nightmare. The crypto was constantly being linked to drugs and money laundering, most infamously in the case of The Silk Road. But, the most damning sequence of events was due to a known security vulnerability and good-old-fashioned ineptness. Enter Hurricane Gox. By February, major (but known to be sketchy) Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox had been having problems for quite awhile. Because of that aforementioned security issue, Mt. Gox halted some of their user’s ability to withdraw Bitcoin while they fixed the hiccup.… Read the rest

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Self-Healing Plastics Developed

Screen Shot 2014-04-12 at 8.44.21 AMVia the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology:

The KIT group headed by Christopher Barner-Kowollik uses the possibility of crosslinking functionalized fibers or small molecules by a reversible chemical reaction for the production of self-healing materials. These so-called switchable networks can be decomposed into their initial constituents and reassembled again after the damage. The advantage is that the self-healing mechanism can be initiated any time by heat, light or by the addition of a chemical substance. “Our method does not need any catalyst, no additive is required,” Professor Barner-Kowollik says. The holder of the Chair for Preparative Macromolecular Chemistry at KIT studies syntheses of macromolecular chemical compounds.

It took about four years of research for the working group of Barner-Kowollik, together with the Project House Composites of Creavis, the strategic innovation unit of Evonik, to develop a novel polymer network. At comparably low temperatures from 50°C to 120°C, the network exhibits excellent healing properties within a few minutes.

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I Experienced Complete and Utter Harmonization of the Third Eyeball With Author and Disinfonaut, Gabriel D. Roberts.

Author, fellow Disinfonaut and great beard-haver, Gabriel D. Roberts.

Author, fellow Disinfonaut and great beard-haver, Gabriel D. Roberts.

An exerpt from my interview with Author, fellow Disinfonaut and amazing beard-haver, Gabriel D. Roberts:

“… Let’s be honest, there’s a lot to hate, especially from fundamentalist perspectives… It’s hard to break out of it and once you do, you violently oppose it because you recognize that you were under a spell… I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t know where to go and directly from there, I went into a drug binge in which I was trying to bury my feelings… But, what I’ve found is whatever you want to call ‘God’ it’s much bigger than the things that are in these little books…”

You know those beautiful and rare occasions where you speak to someone for the first time and find that your personal philosophies seem to line up almost completely?  For me, Author and fellow Disinformation contributor Gabriel D.Read the rest

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‘Crabster’ Crab Robot Scuttles Out of Korean Lab

Grab a mallet, tongs, and as much butter as you can carry, because the Crabster is on its way. The 1,400 pound ocean-going robot is the brainchild of the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, and wasn’t at all designed to dismember you limb from limb before disappearing into the briny depths of an indifferent sea.

Via Popular Science:

What’s that clacking sound? Better read the rest of the article before the Crabster arrives.

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University of Michigan Scientist: Night Vision Contact Lenses Coming Soon

PIC: LColson (PD)

PIC: LColson (PD)

They’re not here yet, but Dr. Zhong says that advances in nanotechnology and night vision tech using the material graphene may open the door to ultra-thin night vision contacts. Oh, and if you want to know more about graphene, you might enjoy reading this.

Via HuffPo:

“We can make the entire design super-thin,” Dr. Zhaohui Zhong, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the university, said in a written statement. “It can be stacked on a contact lens or integrated with a cell phone.”

The key to the new technology is a lightweight and super-strong form of carbon known as graphene. Ordinarily, graphene absorbs only about 2.3 percent of light that hits it — not enough to generate a usable infrared signal. But by combining two layers of graphene with an insulator, the researchers were able to boost the signal dramatically. Sensors made of sandwiched graphene can detect the full infrared spectrum, in addition to visible and ultraviolet light.

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Ray Kurzweil Wants to Make Google Sentient

Hal_console

Man’s best friend?

What is smarter than hoovering up the personal information and innermost thoughts of every person on the planet and then stuffing it into a single database?  Creating an artificial intelligence system capable of understanding it.  From The Guardian:

Google has bought almost every machine-learning and robotics company it can find, or at least, rates. It made headlines two months ago, when it bought Boston Dynamics, the firm that produces spectacular, terrifyingly life-like military robots, for an “undisclosed” but undoubtedly massive sum. It spent $3.2bn (£1.9bn) on smart thermostat maker Nest Labs. And this month, it bought the secretive and cutting-edge British artificial intelligence startup DeepMind for £242m.

And those are just the big deals. It also bought Bot & Dolly, Meka Robotics, Holomni, Redwood Robotics and Schaft, and another AI startup, DNNresearch. It hired Geoff Hinton, a British computer scientist who’s probably the world’s leading expert on neural networks.… Read the rest

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UT Austin Engineers Build First Nonreciprocal Acoustic Circulator: A One-Way Sound Device

The Conversation

The Conversation (Photo credit: Wikipedia) (FU)

It appears that snoops may soon have access to a powerful tool that may likely be used to abuse privacy.

via utexas

A team of researchers at The University of Texas at Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering has built the first-ever circulator for sound. The team’s experiments successfully prove that the fundamental symmetry with which acoustic waves travel through air between two points in space (“if you can hear, you can also be heard”) can be broken by a compact and simple device.

“Using the proposed concept, we were able to create one-way communication for sound traveling through air,” said Andrea Alù, who led the project and is an associate professor and David & Doris Lybarger Endowed Faculty Fellow in the Cockrell School’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “Imagine being able to listen without having to worry about being heard in return.”

This successful experiment is described in “Sound Isolation and Giant Linear Nonreciprocity in a Compact Acoustic Circulator,” which will be featured on the cover of Science in the Jan.

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Inside China’s Internet Addiction Rehab Camps

internet addictionThe New York Times has a short film exploring life inside one of China's hundreds of boot-camp-style treatment centers for electronics-addled youth who spend night and day gaming online, in some cases allegedly wearing diapers to avoid taking bathroom breaks. The camp director compares the internet to "electronic heroin" and warns that the teens "know the internet inside and out, but nothing about human beings." Questions abound: Is China at the forefront of what will become a global epidemic of Compulsive Internet Use? Are computers being scapegoated for problems that are in fact more subtle and complex? Could you survive several months cold turkey?
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Hershey Developing 3D ‘Printable Foods’

HersheyCoContinuing with the meme that any technology Gene Roddenberry and the writers of Star Trek dream up eventually makes its way into our lives, Hershey and 3D Systems Corp. have announced plans for 3D printable foods, reports MarketWatch:

Hershey Co. and 3D Systems Corp. reached a multiyear joint development agreement to explore and develop ways to use 3-D printing technology to produce edible foods, including confectionary treats.

“We believe that innovation is key to delivering relevant, compelling consumer experiences with our iconic brands,” said William Papa, Hershey’s vice president and chief research and development officer. “Whether it’s creating a whole new form of candy or developing a new way to produce it, we embrace new technologies such as 3-D printing as a way to keep moving our timeless confectionery treats into the future.”

Financial terms of the deal weren’t provided.

In a widely seen report, research firm Gartner Inc. last year said the number of consumer 3-D printers globally was set to double and that combined end-user spending on the devices was expected to rise 49% during 2013.

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NSA Can Spy On Computers Even If They Are Not Connected To Internet

NSA-squareYou have to hand it to the hackers at the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), they have some devious tricks. The New York Times details their technique for accessing computers that are kept offline:

The National Security Agency has implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world that allows the United States to conduct surveillance on those machines and can also create a digital highway for launching cyberattacks.

While most of the software is inserted by gaining access to computer networks, the N.S.A. has increasingly made use of a secret technology that enables it to enter and alter data in computers even if they are not connected to the Internet, according to N.S.A. documents, computer experts and American officials.

The technology, which the agency has used since at least 2008, relies on a covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into the computers.

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