Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for February 20th, 2017

Color-changing hair dye responds to your environment

Posted by kenmay on February - 20 - 2017

Just because you want to color your hair doesn’t mean you want the same color all the time. Wouldn’t it be nice if it could change with the weather, or whether or not you’re inside? You might get your wish. The Unseen has developed a color-changing hair dye, Fire, that reacts to shifts in temperature — it could be red outside and revert to a more natural color indoors. The carbon-based molecules in the dye alter their light absorption when they’re subjected to temperature changes, producing different colors that you can reverse just by heading somewhere new. Creator Lauren Bowker tells Wired that the dye is safe. It uses “less toxic” materials, such as irritants that are wrapped in polymers to minimize the damage to your hair and scalp. In theory, it shouldn’t be any more harmful than the dye you buy at the store. Fire still needs to be refined and fully assessed for safety before you can buy it. However, this isn’t one of those far-off projects that will take many years to reach shelves — there’s already production-oriented testing underway. If everything goes smoothly, you could soon have a hair color evolves from moment to moment, not just whenever you feel up to a dyeing session. Via: Wired Source: The Unseen

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Serious Computer Glitches Can Be Caused By Cosmic Rays

Posted by kenmay on February - 20 - 2017

The Los Alamos National Lab wrote in 2012 that “For over 20 years the military, the commercial aerospace industry, and the computer industry have known that high-energy neutrons streaming through our atmosphere can cause computer errors.” Now an anonymous reader quotes Computerworld: When your computer crashes or phone freezes, don’t be so quick to blame the manufacturer. Cosmic rays — or rather the electrically charged particles they generate — may be your real foe. While harmless to living organisms, a small number of these particles have enough energy to interfere with the operation of the microelectronic circuitry in our personal devices… particles alter an individual bit of data stored in a chip’s memory. Consequences can be as trivial as altering a single pixel in a photograph or as serious as bringing down a passenger jet. A “single-event upset” was also blamed for an electronic voting error in Schaerbeekm, Belgium, back in 2003. A bit flip in the electronic voting machine added 4, 096 extra votes to one candidate. The issue was noticed only because the machine gave the candidate more votes than were possible. “This is a really big problem, but it is mostly invisible to the public, ” said Bharat Bhuva. Bhuva is a member of Vanderbilt University’s Radiation Effects Research Group, established in 1987 to study the effects of radiation on electronic systems. Cisco has been researching cosmic radiation since 2001, and in September briefly cited cosmic rays as a possible explanation for partial data losses that customer’s were experiencing with their ASR 9000 routers. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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