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Cell Phone

Hackers can track phone users' location by monitoring power supply usage

© Reuters / Eduardo Muno
Researchers have found out it is possible to track someone's mobile phone by looking at how much battery has been used. The data does not need the users' permission to be shared, while it can help track a phone with up to 90 percent accuracy.

The findings were carried out by a group of researchers at Stanford University and the Israeli defense company Rafael. They created a technique, which they have named PowerSpy and can gather information concerning the location of Android phones. It does this by simply tracking how much power has been used over a certain time.

How much power is used depends on a number of factors. For example, the further away the phone is from a transmitter, the more power is needed to get a signal. Physical objects such as mountains or buildings also have an impact on the amount of battery needed as these obstacles can block the phone's signal, meaning there are temporary 'power drains' on the devices.

"A sufficiently long power measurement (several minutes) enables the learning algorithm to 'see' through the noise," the researchers said, which was reported by Wired. "We show that measuring the phone's aggregate power consumption over time completely reveals the phone's location and movement."

Comment: There just seems to be no way around it; use a cell phone and know that you can be tracked.

Comet 2

Stray 'icy' comet comes out of nowhere to surive close brush with Sun

SOHO-2875
Astronomers are puzzling over a comet that passed "insanely close" to the sun on Feb. 19th. At first glance it appeared to be a small object, not much bigger than a comet-boulder, doomed to disintegrate in the fierce heat. Instead, it has emerged apparently intact and is actually brightening as it recedes from the sun.

Unofficially, the icy visitor is being called "SOHO-2875," because it is SOHO's 2,875th comet discovery.

Karl Battams of the Naval Research Lab explains what's odd about SOHO-2875: "It's a 'non-group comet,' meaning that it does not appear to be related to any other comet or comet family that we have on record."

Comment: How many more times do they have to witness this before they realize the electric nature of ROCKY comets???

Comets are just electrically-glowing asteroids!!!

In addition, a cometary body's size is a relatively insignificant factor in determining how brightly it will shine, and when and where it will shine.

Cell Phone

"Unhackable" cellphone being developed by Russian firm

© 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

sismograph
© 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

terminator vision
© 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'

Genes
© 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

DNA
© 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

limpet species
© 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'

© 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

© 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.

© 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.

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