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Cell Phone

"Unhackable" cellphone being developed by Russian firm

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© Reuters / Eddie Keogh
Russia is entering the post-Snowden world with style. Its own anti-surveillance smartphone prototype, equipped with the latest in cutting-edge cybersecurity and intended for corporate users, is currently being tested.

This is not Russia's first foray into smartphones, with the dual-screen YotaPhone making headlines recently with its second incarnation. However, the new project will offer unparalleled, corporate-level securit, when ready. The current version is a prototype and any photos are kept in strict secret.

Called the TaigaPhone, the phone will be manufactured by Taiga Systems, 99 percent of which belongs to Natalya Kasperskaya, owner of the InfoWatch group. The device will synergize with other tools provided by the company to its high-profile clients.

According to Izvestia daily, things like photos and work-related files, as well as phone conversations and metadata will not "leak" without the user's consent, according to Taiga Systems co-owner Aleksey Nagorny.

"The device is entirely our own - the design, the schematics and circuitry. The phone will be manufactured in China," he said.

The company used Android's base for the creation of its own Taiga operating system. Inventing one from scratch was too costly and cumbersome.

But the system will also contain several levels of cyber defense, chief among them the ability to completely disable or enable select parts of the system. Nagorny mentioned the camera, as well as location services.

Blue Planet

The USGS tries to cope with earthquakes induced by fluid injection

© Wikipedia
Seismogram being recorded by a seismograph at the Weston Observatory in Massachusetts, USA.
A paper published today in Science provides a case for increasing transparency and data collection to enable strategies for mitigating the effects of human-induced earthquakes caused by wastewater injection associated with oil and gas production in the United States. The paper is the result of a series of workshops led by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey in collaboration with the University of Colorado, Oklahoma Geological Survey and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, suggests that it is possible to reduce the hazard of induced seismicity through management of injection activities.

Large areas of the United States that used to experience few or no earthquakes have, in recent years, experienced a remarkable increase in earthquake activity that has caused considerable public concern as well as damage to structures. This rise in seismic activity, especially in the central United States, is not the result of natural processes.

Robot

DARPA creates device that plugs directly into the visual cortex and alters DNA

© unknown
For now, the technology is in "crude" form undergoing R&D through animal testing, specifically with the neural connections of a zebrafish.

In the longer term, DARPA researchers (the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) believes the gene modifying optical technology will be able to restore vision to the blind and impaired, and replaced current conceptions of virtual reality, with an internal display that will provide vital stats and more about the target, err, object in view.
According to CNET, the DARPA boffins are reportedly working on a device known as a 'cortical modem' that plugs directly into a person's DNA and visual cortex. Not only does this unique device help someone overcome blindness or poor eyesight, it generates a built-in heads-up display (HUD) that appears right in before their very eyes.

The implants create an augmented reality projection that appears like magic in your natural vision and without the need for helmets or special eyeglasses. (source)

Comment: Entrusting the military-industrial complex with access to our bodies is folly in the extreme.


Info

Scientists unveil map of 'epigenome'

© cosmin4000/iStockphoto
The epigenome can turn genes in DNA on or off.
For the first time, scientists have mapped out the molecular "switches" that can turn on - or off - individual genes in the DNA in more than 100 types of human cells.

Researchers unveiled the map of the 'epigenome' in the journal Nature today, along with nearly two dozen related papers.

The human genome is the blueprint for building an individual person. The epigenome can be thought of as the cross-outs and underlinings of that blueprint: if someone's genome contains DNA associated with cancer but that DNA is "crossed out" by molecules in the epigenome, for example, the DNA is unlikely to lead to cancer.

As sequencing individuals' genomes to infer the risk of disease becomes more common, it will become all the more important to figure out how the epigenome is influencing that risk as well as other aspects of health.

Info

Coming next - DNA data storage

© Thinkstock
If you must preserve messages for people in the far future to read, Blu-ray discs and USB sticks are no good. For real long-term storage, you want a DNA time capsule.

Just 1 gram of DNA is theoretically capable of holding 455 exabytes - enough for all the data held by Google, Facebook and every other major tech company, with room to spare. It's also incredibly durable: DNA has been extracted and sequenced from 700,000-year-old horse bones. But conditions have to be right for it to last.

"We know that if you just store it lying around, you lose information," says Robert Grass of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. So he and colleagues are working on ways to increase DNA's longevity, with the aim of storing data for thousands or millions of years.

They began by looking at the way information is encoded on a DNA strand. The simplest method treats the DNA bases A and C as a "0" and G and T as a "1". Of course, any damage to the DNA leaves holes in the data, so the team used an error-correcting technique called a Reed-Solomon code. This includes redundant blocks that can be used to reconstruct garbled bits of data.

They also tried to mimic the way fossils keep a DNA sequence intact. Excluding all water from the environment was key, so they encapsulated the DNA in microscopic spheres of glass.

Boat

Limpet teeth discovered to be strong enough to construct ships

© wikipedia.org
The true limpet species Patella vulgata on a rock surface in Wales
The newest contender for the strongest material is found in the sea. Science has discovered recently that teeth belonging to tiny marine creatures called limpets are so incredibly tough they could be used to construct boats.

The chompers are 100 times thinner than the diameter of a human hair. Scientists have determined that if we built huge structures from material fashioned from limpet teeth, they would be as strong and unbreakable as the smallest piece of the material - a massive advantage for engineering.

Limpets are snail-type creatures crawling along the sea bed, carrying their portable, cone-shaped homes with them. Scientists decided to use a process known as atomic force microscopy on a set of limpet teeth to test how the material behaves at a microscopic level, and how strongly it bonds together.

Grey Alien

British scientists say metal ball containing bio matter could be alien 'seed'

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© Reuters / NASA
A newly discovered microscopic ball could have been sent to earth by an alien civilization in an attempt to start new life, a British scientist has claimed.

The mysterious metal sphere has been photographed spewing out a biological substance, which scientists believe could be genetic material.

It was discovered by a team of researchers at the University of Sheffield and the University of Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology.

While several theories on the tiny ball's origins have been volunteered, the most intriguing sound like pure science fiction.

Comment: Very interesting what further analysis of this orb will reveal.


Sun

Bad news for warmists: Sun has gone quiet - Weakest solar cycle in over 100 years

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© spaceweather.com
Latest solar image with little sunspot activity
Discussion

Overview
The main driver of all weather and climate, the entity which occupies 99.86% of all of the mass in our solar system, the great ball of fire in the sky - has gone quiet again during what is likely to be the weakest sunspot cycle in more than a century. For the past 5 days, solar activity has been very low and one measure of solar activity - its X-ray output - has basically flatlined in recent days (plot below courtesy NOAA/Space Weather Prediction Center). Not since cycle 14 peaked in February 1906 has there been a solar cycle with fewer sunspots. We are currently more than six years into Solar Cycle 24 and today the sun is virtually spotless despite the fact that we are still in what is considered to be its solar maximum phase. Solar cycle 24 began after an unusually deep solar minimum that lasted from 2007 to 2009 which included more spotless days on the sun compared to any minimum in almost a century.

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© NOAA/SWPC
The flatlining of solar X-ray output in recent days
Solar maximum
There was an uptick in the number of sunspots in April 2014 which produced a second peak during solar cycle 24 and it is looking increasingly likely that this will be considered the solar maximum point for this particular cycle (figure below courtesy NASA). Many solar cycles are double peaked; however, this is the first one in which the second peak in sunspot number was larger than the first peak which occurred in February 2012. Going back to 1755, there have been only a few solar cycles in the previous 23 that have had a lower number of sunspots during its maximum phase.

Comment: Despite all the propaganda being touted by "official" science and media, humanity should be much more concerned with global cooling than global warming.


Galaxy

Electric Universe: The strange case of the 'missing' brown dwarf

© ESO/J. Girard
The SPHERE instrument is shown shortly after it was installed on ESO's VLT Unit Telescope 3. The instrument itself is the black box, located on the platform to one side of the telescope.
The new SPHERE instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope has been used to search for a brown dwarf expected to be orbiting the unusual double star V471 Tauri. SPHERE has given astronomers the best look so far at the surroundings of this intriguing object and they found—nothing. The surprising absence of this confidently predicted brown dwarf means that the conventional explanation for the odd behavior of V471 Tauri is wrong.

Some pairs of stars consist of two normal stars with slightly different masses. When the star of slightly higher mass ages and expands to become a red giant, material is transferred to other star and ends up surrounding both stars in a huge gaseous envelope. When this cloud disperses the two move closer together and form a very tight pair with one white dwarf , and one more normal star.

One such stellar pair is called V471 Tauri. It is a member of the Hyades star cluster in the constellation of Taurus and is estimated to be around 600 million years old and about 163 light-years from Earth. The two stars are very close and orbit each other every 12 hours. Twice per orbit one star passes in front of the other—which leads to regular changes in the brightness of the pair observed from Earth as they eclipse each other.

A team of astronomers led by Adam Hardy (Universidad Valparaíso, Valparaíso, Chile) first used the ULTRACAM system on ESO's New Technology Telescope to measure these brightness changes very precisely. The times of the eclipses were measured with an accuracy of better than two seconds—a big improvement on earlier measurements.

Comment: When the "conventional explanation" is "wrong", it may be time to incorporate that data into the winning Electric Universe theory and review what you thought you knew about how the cosmos actually works...

Earth Changes and the Human-Cosmic Connection

Could the "odd changes to the orbit of the binary" be caused by the close approach of the system's Twin Sun?

Nemesis: Does the Sun Have a 'Companion'?

Perhaps something wicked this way comes:




Robot

Robots are replacing chefs at restaurants in Asia

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© AP
A robotic chef from Japan's Motoman prepares a dish. Robots have become increasingly popular replacements for human workers across Asia.
U.S. chain restaurants make it their business to create a homey, familiar environment. Places like Applebee's, Cracker Barrel, and T.G.I. Friday's are dedicated to making customers feel like they're eating at a neighborhood institution rather than a replica of a place that can be found in the next town over...and the town after that, and so on.

But in China, there's a restaurant movement that wants diners to feel like they're having an interplanetary interaction as soon as they walk in. "Earth person, hello!" a robot greeter says at Haohai Robot Restaurant in Harbin, China. Diners are then seated at their table, place an order with a robot waiter, have their food prepared by a robot chef, and then pay as their (robot-cleared) dishes are being scrubbed by a robot dishwasher.

Robots are also behind the scenes at Wishdoing in Shanghai, preparing dishes like mapo tofu, Kung Pao chicken, and six other Chinese specialties in under three minutes each. At noodle houses across China, the laborious task of hand cutting noodles is carried out by Chef Cuis, the robot creations of restaurateur Cui Runguan. And at the Dalu Robot Restaurant, the entire wait staff is robotic.

These curious chefs de cuisine are now starting to get jobs overseas. Google employs a 3D printer to custom create pasta for its employees. PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel was behind the funding of a 3D printer that in a few years will crank out replica steaks, hamburgers, and other vegetarian-friendly beef made from protein. 3D printers may lack the presence and personality of their chef counterparts, but their get-down-to-business attitude might be what's needed to make the transition from hometown hangouts to robot restaurants.

Take a food tour through the gallery to watch robots roll rotis, serve up sushi, steam lattes, twirl ramen, and even make pizza from scratch.

Click here to view slideshow

Comment: While most applaud the advances in technology that allow life to be simplified, it should concern most people that one of the uses of technology is replacing human jobs with robots. The restaurant industry is one place where most individuals without college degrees are able to get a job, so one has to wonder what kind of effect it will have to replace humans with robots in an area where a lot of people can depend on getting a job. If there's no one who can afford to eat at a restaurant because they have no jobs, what good will it do to have robot chefs and waiters?