Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for March 9th, 2017

Volkswagen Group Volkswagen’s plans to develop fully autonomous vehicles that would offer greater comfort and convenience than current cars, while slashing the number of road deaths and truly democratizing mobility, have borne their first fruit. This is Sedric, designed to be a platform for cross-brand ideas, which will feed into subsequent concepts from the group’s car brands. The biggest idea it introduces is its full “Level 5” autonomy: no human driver is required. There’s no VW badge on the front of Sedric because this is the first concept car built by the Volkswagen Group, rather than the Volkswagen car brand. It was devised, designed, developed and constructed by Volkswagen Group’s Future Center Europe in Potsdam and Volkswagen Group Research in Wolfsburg. “We are systematically focusing on our customers, their wishes and requirements for the mobility of the future,” says chief designer Michael Mauer. “The Volkswagen Group Future Centers give us the opportunity to conceptualize and develop new ideas of mobile life.” Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / One of two publicly available exploits for a critical Apache Struts vulnerability. (credit: Kevin Beaumont ) In a string of attacks that have escalated over the past 48 hours, hackers are actively exploiting a critical vulnerability that allows them to take almost complete control of Web servers used by banks, government agencies, and large Internet companies. The code-execution bug resides in the Apache Struts 2 Web application framework and is trivial to exploit. Although maintainers of the open source project patched the vulnerability on Monday , it remains under attack by hackers who are exploiting it to inject commands of their choice into Struts servers that have yet to install the update, researchers are warning. Making matters worse, at least two working exploits are publicly available. “If you run it against a vulnerable application, the result will be the remote execution of commands with the user running the server,” Vicente Motos wrote of one of the exploits in a post published late Wednesday afternoon on the Hack Players website. “We have dedicated hours to reporting to companies, governments, manufacturers, and even individuals to patch and correct the vulnerability as soon as possible, but the exploit has already jumped to the big pages of ‘advisories,’ and massive attempts to exploit the Internet have already been observed.” Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Mark Walton) Specs at a glance: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti CUDA CORES 3584 TEXTURE UNITS 224 ROPS 88 CORE CLOCK 1,480MHz BOOST CLOCK 1,1582MHz MEMORY BUS WIDTH 352 bits MEMORY BANDWIDTH 484GB/s MEMORY SIZE 11GB GDDR5X Outputs 3x DisplayPort 1.4, 1x HDMI 2.0b with support for 4K60 10/12b HEVC Decode Release date March 9, 2017 PRICE Founders Edition (as reviewed): £700/$700. Partner cards priced at: £700/$700. I find it odd that a room full of otherwise seemingly normal human beings (press excluded) would cheer at being charged £700/$700 for the GTX 1080 Ti, even if it does claim to be the fastest gaming graphics card money can buy. After all, that £700 could otherwise be spent on an entire gaming PC, the latest iPhone, a return flight from London to Los Angeles, or 139 bottles of the finest Scottish craft beer . Besides, surely those Americans in attendance at Nvidia’s grand GTX 1080 Ti reveal in San Francisco had more pressing things to worry about? After all, life isn’t all graphics cards and iPhones when your health is on the line . Still, Nvidia was true to its word: the GTX 1080 Ti is indeed the fastest gaming graphics card money can buy—even faster than the £1,100/$1,200 e-peen extension that is the Titan X Pascal . It’s a hell of a lot faster than the GTX 1080 too—which now sits in a “cheaper” price bracket of £500/$500—by as much as 30 percent. It’s the first graphics card since the Titan XP that can play many games in 4K at 60FPS without having to fiddle with settings—you just whack everything on ultra and start playing. Plus it’s a quiet graphics card, in its Founders Edition form at least, thanks to the improvements Nvidia has made to its iconic all-metal shroud. Read 28 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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When 14-year-old Daniel Kristiansen was assigned a World War II project for history class, his father jokingly suggested he look for a German plane that had allegedly crashed at the family farm. Well wouldn’t you know it, he actually found the damned thing—along with the dead airman’s remains. It’s being called one of… Read more…

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My first question was, “What is a time crystal?” Harvard graduate students Soonwon Choi, Joonhee Choi and postdoctoral researcher Renate Landig all started laughing. “That’s a very good question, ” said Soonwon. The time crystal’s silly science fiction name shrouds its deep quantum mechanical nuance. Sometimes a name… Read more…

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IBM built an atomic hard drive

Posted by kenmay on March - 9 - 2017

While the rush to keep pace with Moore’s Law is getting rather “chaotic” , researchers at IBM announced on Wednesday that they have drastically reduced the space required to store a bit of information down to that of a single atom. This tiny advancement in storage technology, is a big deal. Given that modern hard drives need about 100, 000 atoms to store a single bit, this development could shrink the size of future storage mediums by an order of magnitude. IBM figures that it can store the entire iTunes catalog (all 35 million tracks) onto a disk the size of a credit card by using this technique. A single atom of holmium credit: IBM Research – Almaden The system uses atoms of holmium seated atop a magnesium oxide surface, which keeps the atom’s magnetic poles stable — even in the presence of other magnets. The orientation of these poles determines whether the atom constitutes a 1 or a 0. To write to this storage system, a microscopic needle induces a current to flip the atom’s orientation. Reading the information, conversely, is simply a matter of measuring the magnetic current passing through each atom, which varies depending on which pole is facing up. But don’t expect this technology to show up in the next iPhone, mind you. It currently requires a liquid nitrogen-cooled tunnelling electron microscope operating in a vacuum to work. The study was published today in the journal Nature .

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I’m playing this recording of soft droning engine noise from Star Trek TNG as I type this and I can hardly keep my eyes open. This is just one of several space ship sounds recordings featured on Open Culture. There’s also the USCSS Nostromo from Alien , Dr. Who’s Tardis (yes, not really a spac…. ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz

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Ned Desmond shares the scary story of how a small site he managed that advertised fishing expeditions ended up with 565,192 scam pages . He also suggests five ways to avoid the same fate. (more…)

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The BBC reports that an ” ordinary rabbit’s hole in a farmer’s field leads to an underground sanctuary once said to be used by the Knights Templar .” Michael Scott, from Birmingham, went to photograph the caves after seeing a video of them online. He said: “I traipsed over a field to find it, but if you didn’t know it was there you would just walk right past it. Considering how long it’s been there it’s in amazing condition, it’s like an underground temple.” The tunnel leads to a network of walkways and arches carved out of sandstone, as well as a font. The cave is evidently a hot place to hang out if you’re a witch . Be sure to ask the property owners nicely and clean up after the ritual is complete. One year after Christmas, the labyrinth of intricately carved chambers was found to be filled with candles, sinister symbols scrawled on the walls and more besides. The owners of the site, hidden in dense woodland ten miles from Wolverhampton, decided enough was enough when two warlocks knocked on the door – and asked for their robes back. The red-faced pair had left the garments behind after a ritual.

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