Mohamed Iqbal Pallipurath

Chinese military to create new OS to thwart US government hackers

Chinese military won’t move to Linux, but develop a custom OS instead.

10 things you should never do in Excel

10 things you should never do in Excel

 

Amidst an escalating trade war and political tensions with the US, Beijing officials have decided to develop a custom operating system that will replace the Windows OS on computers used by the Chinese military.

The decision, while not made official through the government’s normal press channels, was reported earlier this month by Canada-based military magazine Kanwa Asian Defence.

Per the magazine, Chinese military officials won’t be jumping ship from Windows to Linux but will develop a custom OS.

Thanks to the Snowden, Shadow Brokers, and Vault7 leaks, Beijing officials are well aware of the US’ hefty arsenal of hacking tools, available for anything from smart TVs to Linux servers, and from routers to common desktop operating systems, such as Windows and Mac.

Since these leaks have revealed that the US can hack into almost anything, the Chinese government’s plan is to adopt a “security by obscurity” approach and run a custom operating system that will make it harder for foreign threat actors — mainly the US — to spy on Chinese military operations.

The task of developing the new OS and replacing Windows will fall to a new “Internet Security Information Leadership Group,” as first reported by the Epoch Times, citing the May issue of the Kanwa Asian Defence magazine.

Per the magazine, this new group answers directly to the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), being separate from the rest of the military and intelligence apparatus.

This is similar to how the United States Cyber Command operates as a separate entity in the US Department of Defense, separate and independent from the other US military and intelligence agencies.

In the late 90s, North Korea also developed a custom operating system for use inside the country, called Red Star OS.

The OS is still alive, it is a Linux distro, but it never became the “only” official OS for government agencies, which continued to use Windows, Mac, and Linux in parallel.

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Engineers create ‘lifelike’ material with artificial metabolism

Cornell professor of biologi

Cornell professor of biological and environmental engineering Dan Luo and research associate Shogo Hamada
have created a DNA material capable of metabolism, in addition to self-assembly and organization.

 

By Matt Hayes |

As a genetic material, DNA is responsible for all known life. But DNA is also a polymer. Tapping into the unique nature of the molecule, Cornell engineers have created simple machines constructed of biomaterials with properties of living things.

Using what they call DASH (DNA-based Assembly and Synthesis of Hierarchical) materials, Cornell engineers constructed a DNA material with capabilities of metabolism, in addition to self-assembly and organization – three key traits of life.

“We are introducing a brand-new, lifelike material concept powered by its very own artificial metabolism. We are not making something that’s alive, but we are creating materials that are much more lifelike than have ever been seen before,” said Dan Luo, professor of biological and environmental engineering in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The paper, “Dynamic DNA Material With Emergent Locomotion Behavior Powered by Artificial Metabolism,” published April 10 in Science Robotics.

For any living organism to maintain itself, there must be a system to manage change. New cells must be generated; old cells and waste must be swept away. Biosynthesis and biodegradation are key elements of self-sustainability and require metabolism to maintain its form and functions.

Through this system, DNA molecules are synthesized and assembled into patterns in a hierarchical way, resulting in something that can perpetuate a dynamic, autonomous process of growth and decay.

Using DASH, the Cornell engineers created a biomaterial that can autonomously emerge from its nanoscale building blocks and arrange itself – first into polymers and eventually mesoscale shapes. Starting from a 55-nucleotide base seed sequence, the DNA molecules were multiplied hundreds of thousands times, creating chains of repeating DNA a few millimeters in size. The reaction solution was then injected in a microfluidic device that provided a liquid flow of energy and the necessary building blocks for biosynthesis.

As the flow washed over the material, the DNA synthesized its own new strands, with the front end of the material growing and the tail end degrading in optimized balance. In this way, it made its own locomotion, creeping forward, against the flow, in a way similar to how slime molds move.

The locomotive ability allowed the researchers to pit sets of the material against one another in competitive races. Due to randomness in the environment, one body would eventually gain an advantage over the other, allowing one to cross a finish line first.

“The designs are still primitive, but they showed a new route to create dynamic machines from biomolecules. We are at a first step of building lifelike robots by artificial metabolism,” said Shogo Hamada, lecturer and research associate in the Luo lab, and lead and co-corresponding author of the paper. “Even from a simple design, we were able to create sophisticated behaviors like racing. Artificial metabolism could open a new frontier in robotics.”

The engineers are currently exploring ways to have the material recognize stimuli and autonomously be able to seek it out in the case of light or food, or avoid it if it’s harmful.

The programmed metabolism embedded into DNA materials is the key innovation. The DNA contains the set of instructions for metabolism and autonomous regeneration. After that, it’s on its own.

“Everything from its ability to move and compete, all those processes are self-contained. There’s no external interference,” Luo said. “Life began billions of years from perhaps just a few kinds of molecules. This might be the same.”

The material the team created can last for two cycles of synthesis and degradation before it expires. Longevity can likely be extended, according to the researchers, opening the possibility for more “generations” of the material as it self-replicates. “Ultimately, the system may lead to lifelike self-reproducing machines,” Hamada said.

“More excitingly, the use of DNA gives the whole system a self-evolutionary possibility,” Luo said. “That is huge.”

Theoretically, it could be designed so that subsequent generations emerge within seconds. Reproduction at this hyper pace would take advantage of DNA’s natural mutational properties and speed the evolutionary process, according to Luo.

In the future, the system could be used as a biosensor to detect the presence of any DNA and RNA. The concept also could be used to create a dynamic template for making proteins without living cells.

The work was funded in part by the National Science Foundation and supported by the Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility and Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science. Collaborators include Jenny Sabin, the Arthur L. and Isabel B. Wiesenberger Professor in Architecture, and researchers form Shanghai Jiaotong University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

There is a patent pending with the Center for Technology Licensing.

 
 

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Flying cars are poised to take off

 

 
By KARL WILSON | China Daily | Updated: 2018-10-08 07:20    
Ehang 184, a passenger drone, takes a test flight in Guangzhou in February. FENG ZHOUFENG/FOR CHINA DAILY

The stuff of science fiction is close to becoming reality

Back in February, drone manufacturer Ehang released a video of the world’s first passenger drone, the Ehang 184.

The video showed the drone being put through its paces with and without a passenger. Many analysts watched the demonstration in amazement. The future was suddenly upon us.

The electric drone can carry one passenger, weighing up to 100 kilograms, and travels at speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour.

Headquartered in Guangzhou, the capital of South China’s Guangdong province, the company describes the Ehang 184 as the “world’s first all-electric, consumer-facing autonomous passenger drone”. In other words, it is a flying car.

Two and a half years ago, Ehang was virtually unknown in the wider tech world. The company strutted its stuff at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2016 and made the bold claim that it would build a completely autonomous, passenger-carrying quadcopter-a multirotor helicopter that is lifted by four rotors-that would “revolutionize” mobility.

Andrew J. Hawkins, a writer with The Verge, a technology news and media network in the United States, said, “Many of us in the tech community chortled under our breath at the time, wondering if such a thing was even possible, let alone advisable.”

Now, no one is laughing, as quadcopters, flying cars or taxis-call them what you will-are a reality. And as Hawkins wrote earlier this year, “This thing is no joke.”

Ehang is not the only Chinese company involved in the research and development of flying cars.

Late last year, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, which owns Volvo and Lotus, acquired Terrafugia, a company in Boston, US, which plans to start selling flying cars by next year.

Bloomberg reported: “It’s the most prominent Chinese investment yet in an industry that’s attracting the talent and capital of some of the world’s most prominent entrepreneurs and investors. And it marks an important advance for a technology that could reshape the 21st-century city.”

However, China is not alone in developing this technology. Dozens of companies worldwide are spending billions on research to get commercially viable flying cars off the ground.

Some of the leading contenders include Airbus and Daimler in Europe, Boeing, Bell Helicopter, Uber and Google in the US, and Aston Martin in Britain.

Increasing traffic congestion across megacities and large urban centers, coupled with the resulting economic losses, continue to drive the need for more efficient modes of urban transportation, according to business consultancy Frost & Sullivan.

Joe Praveen Vijayakumar, the company’s industry analyst, said flying cars are being explored as an alternative form of future mobility, making use of underused domestic airspace.

He said flying cars are set to disrupt the personal mobility space of the future, with at least 10 early entrants expected to launch various versions by 2022.

“This space has been witnessing bustling activity, with new players from various industries entering the race to build flying cars,” he said.

“We have also seen a surge in funding, as several companies have raised funds or been acquired by established players from the automotive industry.”

With the newly developed Ehang 184, it seems that all passengers need to do is climb into the small cabin, fasten their seat belts, and the automated flight system does the rest.

The Ehang 184 passenger drone is displayed in Dubai. The electrically powered drone, developed by a company in Guangzhou, can carry a passenger weighing up to 100 kilograms and can travel at speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour. CHINA DAILY

Ehang’s Chief Executive Officer Hu Huazhi said in a statement in February: “None of the traditional flying vehicles can achieve the goal of fully autonomous flying, so they are still far away from common people. But our successful flight means the scenes that we used to see only in sci-fi movies are now very close to common people.”

The company said the drone has been tested more than 1,000 times and is designed to withstand gales with wind speeds of up to 50 km/h. But each Ehang 184 costs a reported $200,000 to $300,000.

Last year, Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, announced a plan to cooperate with Ehang to develop self-flying taxis to transport people across the city.

Ehang cofounder Derrick Xiong said at the time, “The drone can help people to avoid traffic on the ground, but in other applications we can always think about emergency rescue, or we can transport patients to the hospital, or we can do tourism-you know, fly from one island to another.”

Analysts believe that flying cars and air taxis that ferry people to and from work, airports and between cities will be commonplace within the next two decades.

In February, Airbus released a video of the first successful test flight of its eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) autonomous drone.

Although it only hovered in the air for 53 seconds, the fact that its eight rotors were powered entirely by electricity was a landmark for the manufacturer of gas-guzzling commercial aircraft.

However, Ehang is considerably more advanced than most of its competitors, including Airbus. It is already test-flying drones with passengers who simply mark their destination on a map while the drone creates and executes a flight plan.

At the Farnborough International Airshow in Britain in July, Boeing announced it was setting up a new division to tap into what it described as “the growing market of autonomous flight”.

To be called Boeing Next, it will work in partnership with other companies as it looks to “build unmanned vehicles, resolve air traffic control and help model infrastructure on the ground”, the company said in a statement.

The development of flying vehicles is going to arrive in the next few years, Boeing said, adding that transportation in the future will need to be “multi-modal”.

The aerospace giant also announced that it has embarked on a new partnership with the US artificial intelligence company Spark-Cognition.

Boeing said the collaboration will use blockchain technology and AI to develop an air traffic management system that can track an unmanned vehicle as it flies. The system would also allocate traffic routes and corridors.

Amir Husain, founder and CEO of SparkCognition, said the urban aerial transportation market has been estimated to be worth $3 trillion, “which represents the largest new market in our lifetime”.

“The world’s No 1 aviation leader partnering with the world’s most innovative industrial AI company means that unparalleled experience in safety, innovation, scale and reliability will be brought to bear to address this monumental opportunity.”

Boeing plans to develop a system to track an unmanned vehicle in flight. CHINA DAILY

Steve Nordlund, vice-president of Boeing Next, said, “Boeing is leading the responsible introduction of a new mobility ecosystem, instead of just focusing on vehicles.

“Through our technology development and investments, as well as our work with industry leaders, new and existing partners, and regulators, we are uniting the key enablers and stakeholders to make the future mobility ecosystem a reality,” he said.

“Cargo and passenger air vehicle prototypes are being built and tested right now. The introduction of these new technologies won’t all happen at once; proven technologies will be phased in only after they have gone through a robust development process that includes rigorous testing.”

Most important, in Nordlund’s view, there must be a new transportation ecosystem that allows autonomous and piloted air vehicles to coexist safely.

He said a number of operating and business models are being considered-everything from shared air mobility (air taxis) to personal ownership (cars).

“In all of these models, the technology will make urban transport clean, quiet, accessible and safe,” he said.

Autonomy will be integral to the future of air mobility, and travel needs to be safe, reliable and accessible.

Boeing said it is building technology that will enable both fully autonomous vehicle operations as well as intelligent systems that will assist pilots during routine operations.

“We are designing, building and flight-testing electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles that will provide on-demand cargo transport and urban air travel in the future mobility ecosystem,” Nordlund said.

In May, at the World Business Forum in Sydney, one of the world’s leading futurists, Shara Evans, said flying taxis and flying cars “are no longer science fiction but a reality”.

She told China Daily flying cars will be in the air within the next decade.

Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi this year recommitted to the company’s goal of offering flying taxis as a transportation option within the next five to 10 years.

UberAir aims to fly vehicles at low altitudes as part of a network of small eVTOL planes that fly short distances. This is something the company has talked about since 2016, targeting demonstration flights in Los Angeles by 2020.

In April last year, Kitty Hawk, the flying car company backed by Google cofounder Larry Page, released the first footage of a prototype in action.

The vehicle will sit well with environmental activists, as it is fully electric. The company said the vehicle will be ideal for shorter, city-to-city flights, with a range of 100 km and a maximum speed of about 150 km/h. To operate it, a runway will not be needed, as it can take off and land vertically. Of course, users will not actually be operating it, as the vehicle is self-piloting.

The company has named it Cora. It also said it is meant to be much more than just a flying car-it is a flying taxi.

In a media release, Kitty Hawk said it is working with the New Zealand government to commercialize the flying taxi. The two sides aim to see a commercial network of air taxis soaring above New Zealand cities in as little as three years.

Kitty Hawk settled on New Zealand because of its uncongested airspace and rigorous regulatory environment. But more important, the government embraced the idea.

Cora has been granted an experimental airworthiness certificate by the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand.

Trialing the flying taxi service will reportedly take six years, with operations based around the city of Christchurch.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said, “This aircraft represents the evolution of the transport ecosystem to one that responds to a global challenge around traffic and congestion, and is kinder to the planet.”

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Flying cars are poised to take off

 

 
By KARL WILSON | China Daily | Updated: 2018-10-08 07:20    
Ehang 184, a passenger drone, takes a test flight in Guangzhou in February. FENG ZHOUFENG/FOR CHINA DAILY

The stuff of science fiction is close to becoming reality

Back in February, drone manufacturer Ehang released a video of the world’s first passenger drone, the Ehang 184.

The video showed the drone being put through its paces with and without a passenger. Many analysts watched the demonstration in amazement. The future was suddenly upon us.

The electric drone can carry one passenger, weighing up to 100 kilograms, and travels at speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour.

Headquartered in Guangzhou, the capital of South China’s Guangdong province, the company describes the Ehang 184 as the “world’s first all-electric, consumer-facing autonomous passenger drone”. In other words, it is a flying car.

Two and a half years ago, Ehang was virtually unknown in the wider tech world. The company strutted its stuff at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2016 and made the bold claim that it would build a completely autonomous, passenger-carrying quadcopter-a multirotor helicopter that is lifted by four rotors-that would “revolutionize” mobility.

Andrew J. Hawkins, a writer with The Verge, a technology news and media network in the United States, said, “Many of us in the tech community chortled under our breath at the time, wondering if such a thing was even possible, let alone advisable.”

Now, no one is laughing, as quadcopters, flying cars or taxis-call them what you will-are a reality. And as Hawkins wrote earlier this year, “This thing is no joke.”

Ehang is not the only Chinese company involved in the research and development of flying cars.

Late last year, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, which owns Volvo and Lotus, acquired Terrafugia, a company in Boston, US, which plans to start selling flying cars by next year.

Bloomberg reported: “It’s the most prominent Chinese investment yet in an industry that’s attracting the talent and capital of some of the world’s most prominent entrepreneurs and investors. And it marks an important advance for a technology that could reshape the 21st-century city.”

However, China is not alone in developing this technology. Dozens of companies worldwide are spending billions on research to get commercially viable flying cars off the ground.

Some of the leading contenders include Airbus and Daimler in Europe, Boeing, Bell Helicopter, Uber and Google in the US, and Aston Martin in Britain.

Increasing traffic congestion across megacities and large urban centers, coupled with the resulting economic losses, continue to drive the need for more efficient modes of urban transportation, according to business consultancy Frost & Sullivan.

Joe Praveen Vijayakumar, the company’s industry analyst, said flying cars are being explored as an alternative form of future mobility, making use of underused domestic airspace.

He said flying cars are set to disrupt the personal mobility space of the future, with at least 10 early entrants expected to launch various versions by 2022.

“This space has been witnessing bustling activity, with new players from various industries entering the race to build flying cars,” he said.

“We have also seen a surge in funding, as several companies have raised funds or been acquired by established players from the automotive industry.”

With the newly developed Ehang 184, it seems that all passengers need to do is climb into the small cabin, fasten their seat belts, and the automated flight system does the rest.

The Ehang 184 passenger drone is displayed in Dubai. The electrically powered drone, developed by a company in Guangzhou, can carry a passenger weighing up to 100 kilograms and can travel at speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour. CHINA DAILY

Ehang’s Chief Executive Officer Hu Huazhi said in a statement in February: “None of the traditional flying vehicles can achieve the goal of fully autonomous flying, so they are still far away from common people. But our successful flight means the scenes that we used to see only in sci-fi movies are now very close to common people.”

The company said the drone has been tested more than 1,000 times and is designed to withstand gales with wind speeds of up to 50 km/h. But each Ehang 184 costs a reported $200,000 to $300,000.

Last year, Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, announced a plan to cooperate with Ehang to develop self-flying taxis to transport people across the city.

Ehang cofounder Derrick Xiong said at the time, “The drone can help people to avoid traffic on the ground, but in other applications we can always think about emergency rescue, or we can transport patients to the hospital, or we can do tourism-you know, fly from one island to another.”

Analysts believe that flying cars and air taxis that ferry people to and from work, airports and between cities will be commonplace within the next two decades.

In February, Airbus released a video of the first successful test flight of its eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) autonomous drone.

Although it only hovered in the air for 53 seconds, the fact that its eight rotors were powered entirely by electricity was a landmark for the manufacturer of gas-guzzling commercial aircraft.

However, Ehang is considerably more advanced than most of its competitors, including Airbus. It is already test-flying drones with passengers who simply mark their destination on a map while the drone creates and executes a flight plan.

At the Farnborough International Airshow in Britain in July, Boeing announced it was setting up a new division to tap into what it described as “the growing market of autonomous flight”.

To be called Boeing Next, it will work in partnership with other companies as it looks to “build unmanned vehicles, resolve air traffic control and help model infrastructure on the ground”, the company said in a statement.

The development of flying vehicles is going to arrive in the next few years, Boeing said, adding that transportation in the future will need to be “multi-modal”.

The aerospace giant also announced that it has embarked on a new partnership with the US artificial intelligence company Spark-Cognition.

Boeing said the collaboration will use blockchain technology and AI to develop an air traffic management system that can track an unmanned vehicle as it flies. The system would also allocate traffic routes and corridors.

Amir Husain, founder and CEO of SparkCognition, said the urban aerial transportation market has been estimated to be worth $3 trillion, “which represents the largest new market in our lifetime”.

“The world’s No 1 aviation leader partnering with the world’s most innovative industrial AI company means that unparalleled experience in safety, innovation, scale and reliability will be brought to bear to address this monumental opportunity.”

Boeing plans to develop a system to track an unmanned vehicle in flight. CHINA DAILY

Steve Nordlund, vice-president of Boeing Next, said, “Boeing is leading the responsible introduction of a new mobility ecosystem, instead of just focusing on vehicles.

“Through our technology development and investments, as well as our work with industry leaders, new and existing partners, and regulators, we are uniting the key enablers and stakeholders to make the future mobility ecosystem a reality,” he said.

“Cargo and passenger air vehicle prototypes are being built and tested right now. The introduction of these new technologies won’t all happen at once; proven technologies will be phased in only after they have gone through a robust development process that includes rigorous testing.”

Most important, in Nordlund’s view, there must be a new transportation ecosystem that allows autonomous and piloted air vehicles to coexist safely.

He said a number of operating and business models are being considered-everything from shared air mobility (air taxis) to personal ownership (cars).

“In all of these models, the technology will make urban transport clean, quiet, accessible and safe,” he said.

Autonomy will be integral to the future of air mobility, and travel needs to be safe, reliable and accessible.

Boeing said it is building technology that will enable both fully autonomous vehicle operations as well as intelligent systems that will assist pilots during routine operations.

“We are designing, building and flight-testing electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles that will provide on-demand cargo transport and urban air travel in the future mobility ecosystem,” Nordlund said.

In May, at the World Business Forum in Sydney, one of the world’s leading futurists, Shara Evans, said flying taxis and flying cars “are no longer science fiction but a reality”.

She told China Daily flying cars will be in the air within the next decade.

Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi this year recommitted to the company’s goal of offering flying taxis as a transportation option within the next five to 10 years.

UberAir aims to fly vehicles at low altitudes as part of a network of small eVTOL planes that fly short distances. This is something the company has talked about since 2016, targeting demonstration flights in Los Angeles by 2020.

In April last year, Kitty Hawk, the flying car company backed by Google cofounder Larry Page, released the first footage of a prototype in action.

The vehicle will sit well with environmental activists, as it is fully electric. The company said the vehicle will be ideal for shorter, city-to-city flights, with a range of 100 km and a maximum speed of about 150 km/h. To operate it, a runway will not be needed, as it can take off and land vertically. Of course, users will not actually be operating it, as the vehicle is self-piloting.

The company has named it Cora. It also said it is meant to be much more than just a flying car-it is a flying taxi.

In a media release, Kitty Hawk said it is working with the New Zealand government to commercialize the flying taxi. The two sides aim to see a commercial network of air taxis soaring above New Zealand cities in as little as three years.

Kitty Hawk settled on New Zealand because of its uncongested airspace and rigorous regulatory environment. But more important, the government embraced the idea.

Cora has been granted an experimental airworthiness certificate by the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand.

Trialing the flying taxi service will reportedly take six years, with operations based around the city of Christchurch.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said, “This aircraft represents the evolution of the transport ecosystem to one that responds to a global challenge around traffic and congestion, and is kinder to the planet.”

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LED light can damage eyes

ANSES warns

Amélie BAUBEAU
,
AFP
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
LED lighting can damage the eye’s retina and disturb natural sleep rhythms
 
 
 
 
LED lighting can damage the eye’s retina and disturb natural sleep rhythms
Yahoo News Video
Scroll back up to restore default view.

Maisons-Alfort (France) (AFP) – The “blue light” in LED lighting can damage the eye’s retina and disturb natural sleep rhythms, France’s government-run health watchdog said this week.

New findings confirm earlier concerns that “exposure to an intense and powerful [LED] light is ‘photo-toxic’ and can lead to irreversible loss of retinal cells and diminished sharpness of vision,” the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) warned in a statement.

The agency recommended in a 400-page report that the maximum limit for acute exposure be revised, even if such levels are rarely met in home or work environments.

The report distinguished between acute exposure of high-intensity LED light, and “chronic exposure” to lower intensity sources.

While less dangerous, even chronic exposure can “accelerate the ageing of retinal tissue, contributing to a decline in visual acuity and certain degenerative diseases such as age-related macular degeneration,” the agency concluded.

Long-lasting, energy efficient and inexpensive, light-emitting diode (LED) technology has gobbled up half of the general lighting market in a decade, and will top 60 percent by the end of next year, according to industry projections.

LED uses only a fifth of the electricity needed for an incandescent bulb of comparable brightness.

The world’s leading LED light-bulb makers are GE Lighting, Osram and Philips.

The basic technology for producing a white light combines a short wavelength LED such as blue or ultraviolet with a yellow phosphor coating. The whiter or “colder” the light, the greater the proportion of blue in the spectrum.

– Circadian rhythm –

LEDs are used for home and street lighting, as well as in offices and industry.

That are also increasingly found in auto headlights, torches (flashlights) and some toys.

LED cellphone, tablet and laptop screens do not pose a risk of eye damage because their luminosity is very low compared to other types of lighting, Francine Behar-Cohen, an ophthalmologist and head of the expert group that conducted the review, told journalists.

But these back-lit devices — especially when they are used at night or in a dark setting — can “disturb biological rhythms, and thus sleep patterns,” the agency cautioned.

Because the crystalline lens in their eyes are not fully formed, children and adolescents are particularly susceptible to such disruptions, the ANSES reports noted.

Interfering with the body’s circadian rhythm is also known to aggravate metabolic disorders such a diabetes, as well as cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer, noted Dina Attia, a researcher and project manager at ANSES.

In addition, a stroboscopic affect in some LED lights — provoked by tiny fluctuations in electric current — can induce “headaches, visual fatigue and a higher risk of accidents,” the report said.

For domestic lighting, ANSES recommended buying “warm white” LED lighting, limiting exposure to LED sources with a high concentration of blue light, and avoiding LED screens before bedtime.

ANSES also said that manufacturers should “limit the luminous intensity of vehicle headlights,” some of which are too bright.

Finally, the agency cast doubt on the efficacy of some “anti-blue light” filters and sunglasses.

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Japan plans to create 10 billion 14-digit phone numbers using Huawei Technology

NATIONAL

 

JIJI

The communications ministry plans to create for assignment some 10 billion 14-digit phone numbers starting with the code “020.”

With the commercialization of fifth-generation, or 5G, superfast mobile communications fast approaching, 11-digit numbers are expected to run out as early as fiscal 2022.

 

 

 

The plan to introduce the new numbers, by the end of 2021 at the latest, was proposed at a recent meeting of a panel of experts. It was accepted by the three major mobile phone operators — NTT Docomo Inc., KDDI Corp. and SoftBank Corp.

After hearing public comments, the ministry will draw up a report on the matter as early as June and make necessary preparations, including a ministerial ordinance, by the end of this year.

New numbers will be allocated to the major carriers early if they finish work to update their systems ahead of schedule.

Currently, 11-digit numbers starting with “090,” “080” and “070” are used for mobile phones, including smartphones.

For “internet of things” devices, 11-digit numbers starting with “020” have been used since January 2017.

According to the ministry, about 32.6 million of the 80 million numbers starting with 020 had already been assigned to major carriers as of the end of March this year.

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Increasing Tellurium content improves light absorption in organic solar cells

 

Swapping tellurium for sulfur improves light absorption in organic solar cells
Tellurium-containing polymer-based solar cells can absorb light across an exceptionally broad spectrum and have the potential to enhance power conversion efficiencies.

The investigation of light absorbing organic semiconductors is important for the development of lightweight flexible solar cells. Replacing sulfur atoms in commonly used, polymer-based solar cells with tellurium atoms results in materials that absorb a wider range of wavelengths of sunlight. A tellurophene-containing low-bandgap polymer (PDPPTe2T) was synthesized by microwave-assisted palladium-catalyzed ipso-arylative polymerization of 2,5-bis[(α-hydroxy-α,α-diphenyl)methyl]tellurophene with a diketopyrrolopyrrole (DPP) monomer.

This work has demonstrated that solar cells constructed from such polymers can convert sunlight into electrical current with an efficiency of 4.4% at wavelengths up to 1.0 microns. This result is a benchmark for tellurium-based polymer solar cells. Density functional theory calculations (DFT) suggest that the switch from sulfur to tellurium shifts the absorption spectrum toward longer wavelengths in the solar spectrum.

These are the first reported  composed of such tellurium-based polymers. As well, these polymers absorb light across a broad range of wavelengths from ultraviolet to infrared, generating electricity at > 4% efficiency.


 
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Hamas hackers goad Israel to an air strike

In a first, Israel responds to Hamas hackers with an air strike

Israel military said it bombed building housing Hamas cyber forces.

 
 
IDF bombing of Hamas cyber operatives
Source: IDF
 

For the first time, Israel has used brute military force to respond to a Hamas cyberattack, three years after NATO proclaimed “cyber” an official battlefield in modern warfare.

The “bomb-back” response took place on Saturday when Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched an air strike against a building in the Gaza Strip. They claimed it housed Hamas cyber operatives, which had been engaging in a cyberattack against Israel’s “cyberspace.”

“We were ahead of them all the time,” said Brigadier General D., the head of the IDF’s cyber defense division. “The moment they tried to do something, they failed.”

Israeli officials did not disclose any details about the Hamas cyberattack; however, they said they first stopped the attack online, and only then responded with an air strike.

“After dealing with the cyber dimension, the Air Force dealt with it in the physical dimension,” said IDF spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Ronen Manlis. “At this point in time, Hamas has no cyber operational capabilities.”

 
Embedded video
Catalin Cimpanu@campuscodi
 
 

Here is the video released by the IDF showing the air-strike against the building housing Hamas cyber forces.

 
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The Shin Bet security service was also involved in the operation, the IDF said in a press release.

US DID IT FIRST


Israel’s response to the Hamas’ attempted cyberattack is a turning point in modern warfare, where military action was chosen instead of a typical “hack-back” response.

In 2015, the US became the first country to respond with military force to cyberattacks, when it used a drone strike to kill Junaid Hussain, a British citizen who was in charge of ISIL’s hacker groups, and who was responsible for dumping personal details of US military forces online, via Twitter.

However, Israel’s response against Hamas marks the first time that a country has reacted with immediate military force to a cyberattack in an active conflict, in real-time, rather than wait months to plan an operation and respond.

At the time of the Israeli air strike against the Hamas cyber-unit’s headquarters, the IDF was already engaged with Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip after the group had launched over 430 rockets over the border into Israel territory.

Israel responded with retaliatory air strikes of its own, including targeted attacks against the offices of the Hamas military intelligence, and Hamas operatives and sponsors.

“The Israelis have every right to defend themselves,” said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, discussing Israel’s air-strikes in the Gaza Strip.

BOMB-BACK RESPONSES SHOULD NEVER BE THE NORM

 

“Immediately assessing the level of conflict in such a dynamic situation is impossible. However, military activity working along laws of armed conflict should consider principles of proportionality when using force,” Dr. Lukasz Olejnik, an independent cybersecurity and privacy advisor, research associate Center for Technology and Global Affairs Oxford University, told ZDNet in an email discussing Israel’s response to the Hamas cyberattack.

“The scarce official announcement suggests that the potential cyberattack has been thwarted using technical means. That will make analysts wonder what was the point, and justification grounds for using kinetic force.

“That said, the view that people involved in cyber activity linked to a conflict need to be aware of such risks to them has been more and more crystallizing over the last years,” Dr. Olejnik said.

However, Dr. Olejnik warns about nation-states adopting this bomb-back approach as a primary response to cyberattacks, in general.

“The particular conflict we’re speaking about was already ongoing. This is a very different situation to that when a conflict is not yet the case,” he said.

“Any potential response needs to consider many factors, such as the complex circumstances, including the conflict intensity, the perceived and true threat, and the actual actions.

“While you can perfectly imagine cyber activity not crossing the threshold of a conflict, bombs typically do cross the threshold of using force,” Dr. Olejnik said. “No sane strategist should consider kinetic response to low impact cyber-activity when not engaged in a conflict.”

While the IDF and Shin Bet have not revealed any details about the Hamas cyberattack, Hamas hackers have been known for years to have the ability to hijack IDF drones [123].

RELATED GOVERNMENT COVERAGE:

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Aweigh (Open source alternative to GPS)

VERSION 3 – DEVELOP

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I like that Aweigh is open-ended. It supports a kind of continuous search and questioning.
— J. , stackoverflow enthusiast

Aweigh – Version 3 was created for users like J. who appreciate the challenge and the freedom to build their own digital devices. All of Aweigh’s necessary components are simple electronics, which can be found in standard forms or are included in other devices situated in environments as mundane as your living room or your kitchen. The technology was developed so that each part of a device can be found and constructed from several sources, objects, environments – unlike GPS navigation, which has a single point of failure. We hope that Version 3 users will develop and upload their own implementation method , showing how day-to-day users of ubiquitous technologies can directly influence the shape of digital infrastructure. These users are invited to contribute to Aweigh’s public repository.

 

List of all components

DC power booster

Capacitors – 2 x 100 uF, 3 x 1000 pF, 3 x 1 uF, 1 x 150 uF, 1 x 0.1 uF, 1 x 10 uF

Resistors – 4.53k, 100k, 820k, 330k, 2 x 5k

Logarithmic op amp

Analog to digital converter (ADC)

Unity gain op amp

2 x Blue sensitive photodiode

Magnetometer

Accelerometer

Real-time clock module or other time-keeping mechanism

Shaft

Gears

Casing

Power supply

Processor – minimum 8-bit

Memory card

Buttons

Potentiometer

Display, motors, or LEDS

 

List of handy equipment

Soldering iron and solder

3D printer

Lasercutter

Masking tape and duct tape

Scissors, exacto-knife

Multimeter or oscilloscope

Power Supply

Computer

microUSB cable

 

Process

This specific process description is inspired by insideGadget’s hack of a Nintendo Gameboy into a wireless controller.

Step 1 – Collect all components and materials. Polarisation sensors can be found in most screens, processors in smart devices, memory cards in cameras, ADCs in sensing devices, accelerometers in phones, logamps in speakers. In this example, a custom Gameboy Color cartridge is made: flash chip to store the ROM, ATmega48PA microcontroller, and Gameboy buttons for controls.

Step 2 – Gather relevant tools. This will depend on the specific components you choose to use and the objects that you might decide to take apart.

Step 3 – Research prior art and find examples. A few people have made custom Gameboy cartridges, while others have implemented their own controllers that are compatible with the same joystick interface. Some of these references will have the correct Vendor ID & Device ID

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Step 4 – Use GBDK Program to make the ROM. See multi-game loader code. This program listens for key inputs and outputs them to an address with the data we specify.

Step 5 – Choose a memory address to write to and program the inputs as you wish.

Step 6 – Make the polarisation sensor by etching the PCB according to Aweigh’s self-navigation board schematic found here.

Step 7 – Test polarization sensor with any other processor and work out the calibration needed using the mathematical relationships described here.

Step 8 – Solder the flash chip, sensor cicruit, and data lines. A good example of a project turning a Gameboy into a wireless joystick is described here.

Step 9 – Carefully remove the current Gameboy Color display and replace with another LCD of your choice, connected to an Atmega48 board.

Step 10 – Implement a communication protocol between the cartridge and the microcontroller. This can be done physically or wirelessly through a receiver – some people have done this with an nRF24L01 receiver.

Step 11 – Program a simple GUI for the display, taking into account each step described by the algorithm found here.

Step 12 – Run the entire system and troubleshoot any communication issues between the three parts: the cartridge reads polarization values, the Gameboy is used to control the device, and the ATmega48 is used to process and display information.

Step 13 – Encase all parts in the Gameboy Color and plug the custom cartridge in.

Step 14 – Level the device, take the readings, find position, enter destination.

Step 15 – Anchors aweigh!

 

Increasing Accuracy

Calculation of longitude can be increased by correcting the UT1 time with a factor corresponding to the difference between the true solar hour and the mean solar hour.

Trigonometric functions will increase in accuracy depending on the number of bits included in the memory addresses of the chosen processor. These values can have a huge impact on values need decimal precision such as longitude and latitude.

Polarization filter quality will impact the values of the readings themselves. Some processing might need to be implemented in order to obtain a correct Rayleigh scattering approximation.

Calibrating the RTC periodically and checking its drift will impact the calculation of longitude significantly.

Magnetic declination is currently estimated given the current city of the user – this could be improved by using a detailed data set loaded on the board.

Precise navigation is a difficult task and requires many intricate equations and relationships. The technique, tools, and method in which you decide to implement your device will make your accuracy vary on an extremely broad range. Atmospheric and environmental conditions related to pollution for instance, will greatly affect the sensitivity of the sensors and add considerable amount of noise. This can be addressed with the right kind of processing, which will differ for each device.

Aweigh’s technology is therefore still under development. The team hopes to increase the accuracy of the device with more long-term testing and resources. They nonetheless encourage users to search for their own methods of improving the device and to share their findings with the community. Technology is an ongoing endeavor and sometimes literacy and transparency is more valuable than efficiency.

 

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Aweigh (Alternative to GPS)

 

BASICS

 

0.  Intro

Navigation technology is an essential ability for the survival, development, and organisation of both animals and humans. Aweigh combines a biomimetic hardware mechanism with an algorithm inspired by obsolete technologies to calculate the latitude and longitude of the user. This technology is currently being developed and performance tested as a novel insect-inspired optical compass sensor for applications, such as a hexapod walking robot.

See:

Doi: 10.1038/srep09725

Doi: 10.1016/S0921-8890(99)00064-0

DOI: 10.1109/IROS.2017.8206183

 

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1.  Working principle

 

a.  Rayleigh scattering model

Aweigh begins by placing its user within the Rayleigh scattering model, which is an approximation of the sky that takes into account the interactions between light and matter. It explains the optical phenomenon that causes the sky to appear blue. Researchers much smarter than ourselves have come up with a mathematical model, which is described by the scary looking relationships below:

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These relationships enable us to take into account the polarization pattern of skylight, caused by the scattering phenomenon within the Earth’s atmosphere. The scattering interactions with atmospheric constituents induce a partially linear polarization of skylight, which means that the direction of the linear polarization of skylight at the zenith point is always perpendicular to the solar meridian. The figure below shows how patterns of polarisation change for a viewer at position O.

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The other significant property in the Rayleigh scattering light model is that the degree of polarization is related to the scattering angle. In other words, the scattering angle increases from 0 degrees to 90 degrees and will decrease when the scattering angle increases from 90 degrees to 180 degrees. In the figure below, the angle of polarization for an arbitrary scattered beam of light was defined.

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This means that if we can somehow measure the angle of polarization of sunlight from a viewer’s position, we can understand the general pattern of light scattering in the sky. The goal is to determine the position of the sun, which will then enable us to calculate latitude and longitude.

 

b.  Celestial sphere approximation

In astronomy and celestial navigation, the relationship between the observer’s position and solar angles are given by a number of different variables, each relating to celestial bodies and changing over time. If you go online, you’ll be able to find an entire range of different relationships and values, which have been used in the past for different applications.

Aweigh’s algorithm is interested in two specific variables that describe the user’s position relative to the sun:

h = solar altitude

Φ = solar azimuth

The solar altitude is the angle of the sun relative to the Earth’s horizon. This angle varies based on the time, the day, and it related to the latitude of the viewer. The solar azimuth angle is the horizontal angle that defines the sun’s relative direction along the local horizon. These two values are calculated from readings taken by the polarization sensors and allow Aweigh to calculate the “coordinates” of the Sun. Once you are able to locate the exact position of the sun, you can also locate yourself by using trigonometric relations within the celestial sphere approximation.

 

3.  Calculations Explained

 

The following explanation describes each step of Aweigh’s technology, which combines principles from the Rayleigh scattering model and the celestial sphere approximation.

Aweigh first takes readings from a hardware system composed of a pair of polarized light sensors, followed by log-ratio amplifiers. Each polarization sensor models the configuration of desert-ant eyes: if a continuous amount of data points are taken, a three-dimensional representation of the polarization pattern of the sky would appear. The log-ratio amplifiers allow light measurements from the sky to be normalised and enable us to perform a comparison of polarised light values at different angles.

The output of the polarization sensors is described by the following equation:

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(2)

Equations (2) assume a difference of 60 degrees between the two sensor configurations. We need to now solve for the two values p1 and p2 by using an inverse logarithm and a trigonometric function operation.

First, we apply a sigmoid function:

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This means that our equations for p1 and p2 have now become:

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Then, we want to eliminate the influence of the polarization degree by presenting a new transform:

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Once we simplify these relationships, we obtain:

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This results in a new way of characterizing p1 and p2, now defined as s1 and s2:

book13.PNG

These relationships show that we can calculate the polarization degree of each sensor from the values read directly. Next, we solve for a variable, which we will call c for simplification, by performing the following set of simultaneous equations:

book14.PNG

The variable c corresponds to the polarization angle of the user’s current position. The algorithm needs this value to determine the solar azimuth:

book15.PNG

The polarisation reading s1 and s2 are required to calculate the solar altitude described by:

Once we have calculated the current solar azimuth and the solar altitude, a few other variables are needed to determine latitude and longitude: day, time, hour angle, and declination.

The hour angle can be found by using the results of the previous calculations:

The current declination can be found by using values taken from the RTC clock:

book17.PNG

When the clock is initialized, it should be set to GMT.

Finally, to output latitude and longitude, the following relationships are used. E, the difference between the true solar hour and the mean solar hour was ignored in the current implementation of our algorithm.

book20.PNG

The algorithm’s output gives: (LATITUDE, LONGITUDE).

The user can then input a destination. In order to find the direction of the true north, the user will also need to input their current city. This will allow Aweigh to define the magnetic declination and finally trace a vector between the user’s current position and their desired destination.

 
 
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