The Milky Way is warped, not a flat disc

The Milky Way galaxy’s disk of stars is anything but stable and flat. Instead, it becomes increasingly warped and twisted far away from the Milky Way’s center, according to astronomers from National Astronomical Observatories of Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC). From a great distance, the galaxy would look like a thin disk of stars that Read more about The Milky Way is warped, not a flat disc[…]

Muscle-inspired materials that get stronger after stretching

Scientists a Hokkaido University have found a way to create materials that actually get stronger the more you use them. By mimicking the mechanism that allows living muscles to grow and strengthen after exercise, the team led by Jian Ping Gong developed a polymer that breaks down under mechanical stress, then regrows itself into a Read more about Muscle-inspired materials that get stronger after stretching[…]

The world’s biggest spice company is using AI to find new flavors

McCormick — the maker of Old Bay and other seasonings, spices and condiments — hopes the technology can help it tantalize taste buds. It worked with IBM Research to build an AI system trained on decades worth of data about spices and flavors to come up with new flavor combinations. The Baltimore, Maryland-based company plans Read more about The world’s biggest spice company is using AI to find new flavors[…]

Why nonviolent resistance is more successful in effecting change than violent campaigns

Chenoweth and Stephan collected data on all violent and nonviolent campaigns from 1900 to 2006 that resulted in the overthrow of a government or in territorial liberation. They created a data set of 323 mass actions. Chenoweth analyzed nearly 160 variables related to success criteria, participant categories, state capacity, and more. The results turned her Read more about Why nonviolent resistance is more successful in effecting change than violent campaigns[…]

A step closer to self-aware machines – let the robot imagine itself

Columbia Engineering researchers have made a major advance in robotics by creating a robot that learns what it is, from scratch, with zero prior knowledge of physics, geometry, or motor dynamics. Initially the robot does not know if it is a spider, a snake, an arm–it has no clue what its shape is. After a Read more about A step closer to self-aware machines – let the robot imagine itself[…]

OK, smarty pants AI. You can beat us humans at video games. But how about real-world puzzles like Jenga? Oh, oh no

A robot built by a team of researchers at MIT in America has two prongs for fingers, sensors in its wrist, and a camera for eyes. As the AI-powered bot surveys the tower, one of its prongs is told by software to poke a block, which sends feedback to its sensor to work out how Read more about OK, smarty pants AI. You can beat us humans at video games. But how about real-world puzzles like Jenga? Oh, oh no[…]

I’m a crime-fighter, says FamilyTreeDNA boss after being caught giving folks’ DNA data to FBI

Some would argue he has broken every ethical and moral rule of his in his profession, but genealogist Bennett Greenspan prefers to see himself as a crime-fighter. “I spent many, many nights and many, many weekends thinking of what privacy and confidentiality would mean to a genealogist such as me,” the founder and president of Read more about I’m a crime-fighter, says FamilyTreeDNA boss after being caught giving folks’ DNA data to FBI[…]

Officer jailed for using police database to access personal details of dozens of Tinder dates

A former long-serving police officer has been jailed for six months for illegally accessing the personal details of almost 100 women to determine if they were “suitable” dates. Adrian Trevor Moore was a 28-year veteran of WA Police and was nominated as police officer of the year in 2011. The former senior constable pleaded guilty Read more about Officer jailed for using police database to access personal details of dozens of Tinder dates[…]

Unsecured MongoDB databases expose Kremlin’s single username / password backdoor into Russian businesses

A Dutch security researcher has stumbled upon the Kremlin’s backdoor account that the government had been using to access the servers of local and foreign businesses operating in Russia. The backdoor account was found inside thousands of MongoDB databases that had been left exposed online without a password. Any hacker who noticed the account could Read more about Unsecured MongoDB databases expose Kremlin’s single username / password backdoor into Russian businesses[…]

European Commission orders mass recall of creepy, leaky child-tracking Enox smartwatch

The latest weekly report includes German firm Enox’s Safe-KID-One watch, which is marketed to parents as a way of keeping tabs on their little ones – ostensibly to keep them safe – and comes with one-click buttons for speed-dialling family members. However, the commission said the device does not comply with the Radio Equipment Directive Read more about European Commission orders mass recall of creepy, leaky child-tracking Enox smartwatch[…]

Doctors Zap the Brains of Awake Brain Surgery Patients to Make Them Laugh and Have Fun

A distinct pathway in the white matter part of the brain known as the cingulum bundle can be used to alleviate stress and anxiety during awake brain surgery, according to new research published today in The Journal of Clinical Investigation. When electrically stimulated, this pathway triggers instantaneous laughter in the patient. But unlike previous experiments, Read more about Doctors Zap the Brains of Awake Brain Surgery Patients to Make Them Laugh and Have Fun[…]

Nest Secure has an unlisted disabled microphone (Edit: Google statement agrees!)

We received a statement from Google regarding the implication that the Nest Secure alarm system has had an unlisted microphone this whole time. It turns out that yes, the Nest Guard base system (the circular device with a keypad above) does have a built-in microphone that is not listed on the official spec sheet at Read more about Nest Secure has an unlisted disabled microphone (Edit: Google statement agrees!)[…]

Hi, Jack’d: A little PSA for anyone using this dating-hook-up app… Anyone can slurp your private, public snaps • The Register

Dating-slash-hook-up app Jack’d is exposing to the public internet intimate snaps privately swapped between its users, allowing miscreants to download countless X-rated selfies without permission. The phone application, installed more than 110,000 times on Android devices and also available for iOS, lets primarily gay and bi men chat each other up, exchange private and public Read more about Hi, Jack’d: A little PSA for anyone using this dating-hook-up app… Anyone can slurp your private, public snaps • The Register[…]

UAE used cyber super-weapon to spy on iPhones of foes

The cyber tool allowed the small Gulf country to monitor hundreds of targets beginning in 2016, from the Emir of Qatar and a senior Turkish official to a Nobel Peace laureate human-rights activist in Yemen, according to five former operatives and program documents reviewed by Reuters. The sources interviewed by Reuters were not Emirati citizens. Read more about UAE used cyber super-weapon to spy on iPhones of foes[…]

Furious Apple revokes Facebook’s enty app cert after Zuck’s crew abused it to slurp private data

Facebook has yet again vowed to “do better” after it was caught secretly bypassing Apple’s privacy rules to pay adults and teenagers to install a data-slurping iOS app on their phones. The increasingly worthless promises of the social media giant have fallen on deaf ears however: on Wednesday, Apple revoked the company’s enterprise certificate for Read more about Furious Apple revokes Facebook’s enty app cert after Zuck’s crew abused it to slurp private data[…]

Defanged SystemD exploit code for security holes now out in the wild

In mid-January, Qualys, another security firm, released details about three flaws affecting systemd-journald, a systemd component that handles the collection and storage of log data. Patches for the vulnerabilities – CVE-2018-16864, CVE-2018-16865, and CVE-2018-16866 – have been issued by various Linux distributions. Exploitation of these code flaws allows an attacker to alter system memory in Read more about Defanged SystemD exploit code for security holes now out in the wild[…]

Hackers Are Passing Around a Megaleak of 2.2 Billion Records

Earlier this month, security researcher Troy Hunt identified the first tranche of that mega-dump, named Collection #1 by its anonymous creator, a set of cobbled-together breached databases Hunt said represented 773 million unique usernames and passwords. Now other researchers have obtained and analyzed an additional vast database called Collections #2–5, which amounts to 845 gigabytes Read more about Hackers Are Passing Around a Megaleak of 2.2 Billion Records[…]

Criminals Are Tapping into the Phone Network Backbone using known insecure SS7 to Empty Bank Accounts

Sophisticated hackers have long exploited flaws in SS7, a protocol used by telecom companies to coordinate how they route texts and calls around the world. Those who exploit SS7 can potentially track phones across the other side of the planet, and intercept text messages and phone calls without hacking the phone itself. This activity was Read more about Criminals Are Tapping into the Phone Network Backbone using known insecure SS7 to Empty Bank Accounts[…]

Personal data slurped in Airbus hack – but firm’s industrial smarts could be what crooks are after

Airbus has admitted that a “cyber incident” resulted in unidentified people getting their hands on “professional contact and IT identification details” of some Europe-based employees. The company said in a brief statement published late last night that the breach is “being thoroughly investigated by Airbus’ experts”. The company has its own infosec business unit, Stormguard. Read more about Personal data slurped in Airbus hack – but firm’s industrial smarts could be what crooks are after[…]

Facebook pays teens to install VPN that spies on them

Desperate for data on its competitors, Facebook has been secretly paying people to install a “Facebook Research” VPN that lets the company suck in all of a user’s phone and web activity, similar to Facebook’s Onavo Protect app that Apple banned in June and that was removed in August. Facebook sidesteps the App Store and Read more about Facebook pays teens to install VPN that spies on them[…]

Final Fantasy VII background graphics upscaled 4x by AI

The Remako HD Graphics Mod is a mod that completely revamps the pre-rendered backgrounds of the classic JRPG Final Fantasy VII. All of the backgrounds now have 4 times the resolution of the original. Using state of the art AI neural networks, this upscaling tries to emulate the detail the original renders would have had. This helps Read more about Final Fantasy VII background graphics upscaled 4x by AI[…]

Custom firmware for lights allows you to control them with Homeassistant and more controllers

Sonoff B1, lights and shades 12 Replies Six months ago I was reviewing the AiThinker AiLight, a great looking light bulb with an embedded ESP8266EX microcontroller, driven by a MY9291 LED driver. Just before summer IteadStudio released it’s Sonoff B1 [Itead.cc] light bulb, heavily inspired (probably same manufacturer) by the AiLight, at least on the Read more about Custom firmware for lights allows you to control them with Homeassistant and more controllers[…]

Don’t Toss That Bulb, It Knows Your Password

As it turns out, giving every gadget you own access to your personal information and Internet connection can lead to unintended consequences. Who knew, right? But if you need yet another example of why trusting your home appliances with your secrets is potentially a bad idea, [Limited Results] is here to make sure you spend Read more about Don’t Toss That Bulb, It Knows Your Password[…]

Towards reconstructing intelligible speech from the human auditory cortex

To advance the state-of-the-art in speech neuroprosthesis, we combined the recent advances in deep learning with the latest innovations in speech synthesis technologies to reconstruct closed-set intelligible speech from the human auditory cortex. We investigated the dependence of reconstruction accuracy on linear and nonlinear (deep neural network) regression methods and the acoustic representation that is Read more about Towards reconstructing intelligible speech from the human auditory cortex[…]