Contraption to shoot mosquitos with laser beams

In development for several years, the Photonic Fence is an anti-mosquito laser weapon that's apparently now being tested in a real world situation. I hope when it hits the market it still looks like a crazy contraption from a 1960s science fiction film! From the company site : One potential use of the Photonic Fence is to create a virtual fence that detects insects as they cross its plane. When an invading insect is detected, our software is able to estimate the insect’s size and measure its wing beat frequency. Using this method, not only can the system distinguish between mosquitoes, butterflies, and bumblebees, but it can even determine whether a mosquito is male or female. This is important to know because only female mosquitos bite humans. Once the software establishes that the insect is a valid target, it tracks the mosquito in flight, runs a safety check to ensure no innocent bystanders are in view, and then activates a laser to zap the mosquito. The Photonic Fence could be set along the perimeter of clinics or other strategic areas to control mosquitoes without endangering humans or other animals. From Wired UK : When Intellectual Ventures co-founder and former Microsoft chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold came up with the idea of a bug-killing fence in 2010, the intention was to use it to improve public health in Sub-Saharan Africa. Now, however, the Photonic Fence has become a commercial project with a particular target: the Asian citrus psyllid. This insect invader has reduced citrus production in Florida by at least 70 per cent over the last 15 years. The device has been installed on a US Department of Agriculture site in the state for its first real-world test. If all goes to plan, Intellectual Ventures aims to market the Photonic Fence to farmers protecting crops from a multitude of other pests.

Unlocked PS4 consoles can now run copies of PS2 games

Video of Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 3 for the PS2 running on an unlocked PlayStation 4. After years of work, hackers have finally managed to unlock the PS4 hardware with an exploit that lets the system run homebrew and pirated PS4 software. In a somewhat more surprising discovery, those hackers have also unlocked the ability to run many PS2 games directly on the console, using the same system-level emulation that powers legitimate PlayStation Classics downloads. While hackers managed to install Linux on the PS4 years ago , the biggest breakthrough in the PS4 hacking scene came late last month, when two different teams of hackers released a WebKit exploit for version 4.05 of the PS4 firmware . That firmware was patched (and automatically updated on many systems) in late 2016, and there's currently no known way to downgrade an updated system to the older firmware, which limits the range of consoles that can run the exploit. For compatible consoles, though, the kernel-level exploit allows for pretty much full control of the system, including the running of unsigned code. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

With the Successful Funding of the iBox Nano, 3D Printers Just Got a Lot...

Surely some of you remember the toy called Shrinky Dinks, the polystyrene toy that allows users to turn pieces of plastic into smaller pieces of plastic. (According to Wikipedia, 90's alt-rockers Sugar Ray were originally known as 'Shrinky Dinx' until Milton Bradley threatened a lawsuit—more nostalgia than you asked for on a Tuesday morning, I know.) If it's a somewhat dated reference, I must say that I envy the children of the future, who may well grow up with the parentally supervised fun of the 3D printing thanks to iBox Printers . The Melbourne, FL-based company's flagship Nano model is available for pre-order for under $300 on Kickstarter . We've previously seen a similarly diminutive CNC machine , but the iBox is rather more impressive, considering that 3D printing adds a veritable dimension of complexity. Moreover, the portable device is quiet, lightweight and can run on batteries, all thanks to the use of ultra-efficient LCD lamps to UV-cure the resin. Made from a series of stacked acrylic plates, the housing looks something like a tissue box, with an overhead-projector-style print head; on the UI end, the Nano is controlled primarily via mobile/web app over WiFi. (more...)

Peterbilt’s New “Super Truck” Gets 10 MPG—Double the National Big Rig Average

More than two million semis travel some 120,000 miles apiece along America's arterial highways every year at an average efficiency of just 6 MPG. Six. Miles per gallon of diesel—not even Hummers are that wasteful. However, a new "Super Truck" design by Peterbilt has shown it can go the same distance for half the gas. More »

Google Found Over 1,000 Bugs In 47 Open Source Projects

Orome1 writes: In the last five months, Google's OSS-Fuzz program has unearthed over 1, 000 bugs in 47 open source software projects... So far, OSS-Fuzz has found a total of 264 potential security vulnerabilities: 7 in Wireshark, 33 in LibreOffice, 8 in SQLite 3, 17 in FFmpeg -- and the list goes on... Google launched the program in December and wants more open source projects to participate, so they're offering cash rewards for including "fuzz" targets for testing in their software. "Eligible projects will receive $1, 000 for initial integration, and up to $20, 000 for ideal integration" -- or twice that amount, if the proceeds are donated to a charity. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Microsoft tests a secured Edge browser for business

If the idea of a more secure Windows browser appeals to you -- and why wouldn't it -- then you might want to have a peek at the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview Build . That's because it includes the Windows Defender Application Guard for Microsoft Edge, which was announced last September but is finally available for testing today. This Application Guard essentially encases your browser in a virtual machine, so that if your browser ever gets attacked by malware, it won't affect the rest of your PC. To enable this, you need to use the "Turn Windows features on or off" dialog, and then mark the checkbox for "Windows Defender Application Guard." Now when you open Microsoft Edge and click on the menu, you'll see the option for a "New Application Guard window." Click it, and a new special isolated browser window will appear. The whole thing is possible due to the Virtualization Based Security (VBS) made possible by Windows 10. The virtual PC created by Application Guard would keep the Edge browser separate from storage, other apps and the Windows 10 kernel. Other browsers offer "sandboxes" too, but Microsoft says that Application Guard is unique because there's a hardware container that makes it impossible for malware and other exploits to seep through. There are a couple of caveats though. Running Edge in a virtual machine will likely slow it down, and since each browser's session is siloed, all data and cookies are lost once you close it. It's also only available for Enterprise users for now, presumably because their security needs are much higher than the average person. Still, perhaps it could be introduced as an optional feature later on for everyday users. Aside from Application Guard, the Windows 10 Insider Preview Build also includes an improved PDF Reader for Microsoft Edge and integrated Cortana settings.

Scientists Finally Know What Makes These Weird Glass Droplets So Incredibly Strong

Something unusual happens when a drop of molten glass falls into water. As it cools, it creates a crystal clear tadpole-like droplet that’s bulletproof on one end, but impossibly fragile on the other. We’ve known about these droplets for 400 years, but scientists have only recently figured out what makes them almost… Read more...

Today’s Massive Ransomware Attack Was Mostly Preventable—Here’s How To Avoid It

Ransomware may be mostly thought of as a (sometimes costly) nuisance, but when it hinders the ability of doctors and nurses to help people with an emergency medical problems, that qualifies as armed robbery. Read more...

Only 36 Percent of Indian Engineers Can Write Compilable Code, Says Study

New submitter troublemaker_23 quotes a report from ITWire: Only 36% of software engineers in India can write compilable code based on measurements by an automated tool that is used across the world, the Indian skills assessment company Aspiring Minds says in a report. The report is based on a sample of 36, 800 from more than 500 colleges across India. Aspiring Minds said it used the automated tool Automata which is a 60-minute test taken in a compiler integrated environment and rates candidates on programming ability, programming practices, run-time complexity and test case coverage. It uses advanced artificial intelligence technology to automatically grade programming skills. "We find that out of the two problems given per candidate, only 14% engineers are able to write compilable codes for both and only 22% write compilable code for exactly one problem, " the study said. It further found that of the test subjects only 14.67% were employable by an IT services company. When it came to writing fully functional code using the best practices for efficiency and writing, only 2.21% of the engineers studied made the grade. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

This Laser Printer Creates High-Res Color Images Without a Single Drop of Ink

Anyone with a color printer knows that selling replacement ink cartridges is the quickest way to become a millionaire. But what if your printer never needed a single drop of ink to produce color images at impossibly high resolutions? A new laser printer can already do that by etching microscopic patterns onto sheets… Read more...