Monday, 18 December 2017

Small Earthquakes at Fracking Sites May Be Early Indicators of Bigger Tremors

Fracking
7 fears about fracking: science or fiction?

The extraction of shale gas with fracking or hydraulic fracturing has revolutionized the production of energy in the United States, but this controversial technology, banned in France and New York State, continues to generate criticism and protests.

The detractors of the technique, which consists of injecting water and chemical additives at high pressure to fracture the rock containing the hydrocarbons, warn about the possible contamination of water, methane leaks and earthquakes, among other risks.

The British Royal Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society, said in its 2012 report that risks can be effectively managed in the UK "as long as the best operational practices are implemented," Richard Selley, professor at the University of Emeritus of Imperial College in London and one of the authors of the report.

But others, who have contrary opinions, are equal of strict. For example, regarding the possibility that fracking poses a risk of methane leakage, William Ellsworth, a professor of geophysics at Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences. It is not a matter of determining if the wells may have leaks, but the question must be, what percentage has leaks.

In the middle of an intense and growing controversy about fracking, Stangford University Researchers investigated what science says up to now.

Can it cause earthquakes?

Two of them occurred in 2011 in England and led to the temporary suspension of the exploration with fracking.

The first, which occurred in April of that year, near the city of Blackpool, reached 2.3 on the Richter scale and was registered shortly after the company Cuadrilla used hydraulic fracturing in a well.

On May 27, after resumption of fracturing in the same well, seismicity of 1.5 was recorded.

The network of monitors of the British Geological Society, BGS, captured both events, which were not felt by the local inhabitants.

The company Cuadrilla and the government commissioned separate studies.

"Both reports attribute the seismic events to the fracturing operations of Cuadrilla," said the Royal Society, the British Academy of Sciences, in its joint report with the Royal Academy of Engineers on hydraulic fracturing, published in 2012.

Earthquakes can be unleashed mainly by high pressure injection of wastewater or when the fracturing process encounters a fault that was already under stress. However, the Royal Society said that activities such as coal mining also produce micro-organisms. The suspension of fracking in the United Kingdom was lifted in December 2012, following the report of the Royal Society, which ensured that fracking can be safe "provided that the best operational practices are implemented.

In the United States, a study published in March 2013 in the journal Geology linked the injection of wastewater with the 5.7 magnitude earthquake in 2011 in Prague, Oklahoma. The wastewater injection operations referred to in the study were conventional oil exploitation. However, seismologist Austin Holland of the Oklahoma Geological Survey said that while the study showed a potential link between earthquakes and wastewater injection, "it is still the opinion of the Oklahoma Geological Survey that those tremors could have occurred naturally."

Another study published in July 2013 in the journal Science and led by Nicholas van der Elst, a researcher at Columbia University, found that powerful earthquakes thousands of kilometers away can trigger minor seismic events near wastewater injection wells.

The study indicated that seismic waves unleashed by the 8.8 earthquake in Maule, Chile, in February 2010, moved across the planet causing tremors in Prague, Oklahoma, where the Wilzetta oilfield is located.

"The fluids in the injection of sewage into wells are bringing existing faults to their limit point," said Van der Elst.

Can fracking contaminate the water?

At the request of the US Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency of that country, Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, is conducting a study on the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on water sources for human consumption.

A final draft of the report will be released at the end of 2014 to receive comments and peer review. The final report "will probably be finalized in 2016," the EPA confirmed.

In 2011, Stephen Osborn and colleagues at Duke University published a study in the journal of the US Academy of Sciences, according to which the researchers detected contamination of methane water sources near fracking exploration sites in the Marcellus formation. in Pennsylvania and New York.

The study did not find, however, evidence of contamination by chemical additives or the presence of high salinity wastewater in the fluid that returns to the surface along with the gas.

For its part, the Royal Society, the British Academy of Sciences, said that the risk of fractures caused during fracking reaching the aquifers is low, as long as gas extraction takes place at depths of hundreds of meters or several kilometers and wells and the tubing and cementing process are built according to certain standards.

A case cited by the Royal Society in its 2012 report is that of the town of Pavillion, Wyoming, where fracking caused the contamination of water sources for consumption, according to an EPA study. Methane pollution was attributed in this case to poor construction standards and shallow depth of the well, at 372 meters. The study was the first of the EPA to publicly link hydraulic fracturing with water pollution.

However, as in the Duke University study, there were no cases of contamination by the chemical additives used in hydraulic fracturing.

We must remember that when a well is drilled and the aquifer area is crossed, three steel rings are placed, surrounded by cement, below the aquifer.

How to control the use of chemical additives?

Trevor Penning, head of the toxicology center at the University of Pennsylvania recently urged the creation of a working group on the impact of fracking with scientists from Columbia, John Hopkins and other universities.

Penning told that in the United States "it is decided at the level of each state if companies have an obligation to publicize the list of additives they use."

The industry established a voluntary database of used additives, on the fracking focus site. Penning explained that the additives used in the fracking fluid can be very varied and of many kinds, such as surfactants, corrosion inhibitors, biocides etc.

In toxicology they work on the basis that no chemical is safe, but that is the dose that makes the poison. Additives that could cause concern if they exceed safe levels are substitutes for benzene, ethylene glycol and formaldehyde.

"The potential toxicity of wastewater is difficult to assess because many chemical additives used in hydraulic fracturing fluid are undisclosed commercial secrets," Penning added.

The scientist also told that "the potential toxicity of wastewater is difficult to evaluate because it is a complex mixture (the additives can be antagonistic, synergistic or additive in their effects)".

Anthony Ingraffea, professor of engineering at Cornell University, warned of the impact of the September 2013 floods in Colorado, where only 20,000 wells are located in one county. "A good part of the infrastructure was destroyed, which means that the ponds with sewage tanks with chemical additives are now in the water courses and there are leakages of damaged gas pipelines." "The clear lesson is that infrastructure for fracking in floodplains should never be built.

What is done with wastewater?

These waters are what is known as flowback or reflux water, that is, injected water, with chemical additives and sand, which flows back when the gas starts to come out.

Approximately 25% to 75% of the injected fracturing fluid returns to the surface, according to the Royal Society. These wastewater is stored in open-pit tanks dug into the ground and covered (open pits), treated and reused or injected at high pressure into rock formations. The danger of leakage of wastewater is not unique to the extraction of shale gas, but is common in many industrial processes, notes the Royal Society.

“The wastewater may contain radioactive materials of natural occurrence, Naturally Ocurring Radioactive Materials, NORM, which are present in the shale rock in quantities significantly lower than the exposure limits," says the Royal Society report.

Can it exhaust water resources?

The use of water in large quantities in fracking operations is a cause of concern for some. "For natural gas, for example, fracking requires millions of gallons of water (around 2 to 5 million, or even more than 10 million, that is, from 7 to 18 or up to 37 million liters) for fracturing, which is several times more than conventional extraction requires, "John Rogers, senior energy analyst and co-manager of the Energy and Water Initiative of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Union of Scientists Aware, told.

"The extraction of shale gas by fracking consumes on average of 16 gallons of water per megawatt-hour, while conventional gas extraction uses 4. That is, fracking requires 4 times what conventional extraction requires, "said Rogers.

"That amount of water is less than what is involved in the extraction of coal, but the use of water is very localized and can be very important in the local scene, in terms of what would be available for other uses."

The Water-Smart Power study of the Union of Aware Scientists points out that about half of the hydraulic fracturing operations in the United States occur in regions with high or extremely high water stress, including Texas and Colorado.

Melissa Stark, global director of new energies at Accenture consultancy and author of the report "Shale gas water and exploitation", admits that the extraction of shale gas with hydraulic fracturing uses a lot of water (about 20 million liters per well), but notes that "it does not use more water than other industrial processes, such as irrigation for agriculture. The volumes required may seem large, but they are smaller compared to other water uses for agriculture, electric power generation and municipal use," he told.


Can there be methane leaks?
Anthony Ingraffea, professor of engineering at Cornell University in the United States, says that it is not about determining if wells can leak, but the question must be, what percentage has leaks?

Ingraffea analyzed the situation of the new 2012 wells in the Marcellus formation in Pennsylvania, based on the comments of the inspectors, according to records of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

According to Ingraffea, the inspectors registered 120 leaky wells, that is, they detected faults and leaks in 8.9% of the gas and oil exploration wells drilled in 2012.

A study published in September 2013 by the University of Texas, sponsored among others by nine oil companies, ensured that while methane leaks from shale gas extraction operations are substantial - more than one million tons per year - they were less than the estimates of the US Environmental Protection Agency.

However, the Association of Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for a Healthy Energy in the USA, of which Anthony Ingraffea is president, questioned the scientific rigor of that study, noting that the sample of 489 wells represents only 0.14% of wells in the country and also the wells analyzed were not selected at random "but in places and hours selected by the industry".

Some reported images of tap water that catches fire if a match is approached could be explained by the previous presence of methane.

"We must not forget that methane is a natural constituent of groundwater and in some places like Balcombe, where there were protests, the oil flows naturally to the surface," Richard Selley, professor emeritus of Imperial Petroleum Geology.

"We must remember that when a well is drilled and the aquifer area is crossed, three steel rings are placed, surrounded by cement, beneath the aquifer," added Selley.

How does global warming impact?

Between 1981 and 2005, US carbon emissions They increased 33%. But since 2005 they dropped by 9%. The reduction is due in part to the recession, but according to the US Energy Information Administration, Energy Information Administration, EIA, about half of that reduction is due to shale gas.

Globally, coal provides 40% of the world's electricity, according to the International Energy Agency, International Energy Agency. Advocates of shale gas extraction say it is cleaner than coal and can be a transition fuel, while expanding the use of renewable sources such as solar or wind energy.

In Spain, for example, renewable energies "are bordering 12% and there is an objective of the European Union so that by 2020 20% of European energies are renewable," said Luis Suarez, president of the Official College of Geologists of Spain, ICOG.

But others point out that the gas extracted in the process of hydraulic fracturing is methane, a gas much more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, a molecule of methane equals 72 of carbon dioxide after 20 years of emission, and 25 molecules of carbon dioxide at 100 years.

Robert Howarth and colleagues at Cornell University estimated that between 4 and 8% of the total methane production of a well escapes into the atmosphere and adds that there is also emission from the reflux waters that flow along with the gas to the atmosphere. surface after fracturing.

But this analysis is controversial. Lawrence Cathles, also of Cornell University, says the high potential for methane heating in 20 years must be counteracted by the fact that methane has a much shorter life in the atmosphere than CO2.

Robert Jackson of Duke University in North Carolina says that instead of worrying about fracking emissions themselves we should concentrate on leaks in the distribution chain. "Only in the city of Boston we found 3,000 methane leaks in the pipes," Jackson told to New Scientist magazine.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Horrifying macOS Bug Lets Anyone Become Admin With No Password

macOS Bug

New bug found on macOS giving Admin Access to anyone without password input

All the users with a Mac should note that a new bug has been discovered on the latest version of macOS High Sierra. This particular bug can jeopardise your security as it allows anyone to get into the system that also as an administrator by simply typing ‘root’ in the username section. This bug is so dangerous after giving up the name as ‘root’ users are not even required to put in the password.
 

Taking the Twitter by storm

 
This dangerous bug has been found by a software engineer going by the name Lemi Orhanm Ergin. He claimed that this bug has the ability to grant admin access to anyone of any mac system within few seconds. The most horrifying thing about this bug is that it even allows anyone to login to the system just after the reboot. He described his finding in a series of tweets which were picked by a number of tech enthusiasts and soon the Twitter was flooded within huge number of users replicating the acts of the bugs.

It became apparently clear to millions of macOs High Sierra users that simply typing the ‘root’ in the username will help in bypassing the Apple security in no time. Some of the experts had stated that this bug is eerily similar to the Apple’s very own ‘root user’ login feature. It seems like this bug is actively making use of this feature which happens to enabled by default on the macOS. If you are whether your system is affected by this bug or then check your macOS by giving a click on the Apple logo present on the left top left corner of the screen. Now select the option “About this Mac” to know your device macOS version.
 

Bringing updates in quick time intervals

 
Apple has claimed that its macOS is simply the most secure operating system in the world but that doesn’t mean it is free of bugs. Apple is known to offers patches and fixes as quickly as possible which isn’t the case with other operating systems where users have to wait for months to get the incremental updates.

Just a few weeks ago Apple brought a massive supplemental update for the macOS High Sierra which helped in fixing a wide range of bugs along with improving the installer robustness and along with other issues. Some of the major issues resolved with this update include the fixing of the graphical problem associated with Adobe InDesign and issue related to addressed in the Yahoo accounts.

Apple has been quick at coming up with the fix as well this time around. Apple has even issued a statement where it stated that security is always been a top priority for every Apple product. It even clarified that the Apple engineers have found this issue in the Tuesday afternoon and they had started immediately working on patching up the security hole.

Now this big has been squashed in the macOS High Sierra for good and it shows why a huge number of are fan of the Apple products.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Paper Signals: Cute Voice Experiment Lets You Track World

Google experiment allows the construction of interactive paper signals

Have you ever thought about building your own functional and interactive speech recognition device? Know that Google is turning this unlikely possibility into reality. And most interesting of all, the objects are practically all made out of paper which is called as interactive paper signals. Google surprises us from time to time with very curious experiments demonstrating that technology can be used in very different ways and without the need for many resources. A recent example: cardboard glasses for virtual reality. Now they surprise us with a nice application to take advantage of Google Assistant.

This is an experiment of the company that besides having a rather unusual proposal, visually it is quite curious. They are paper structures that respond physically to voice commands. Paper Signals is a kit that allows us to make paper cutouts, connect them to Adafruit and move them when we do a specific search through Assistant. For example, we can create an umbrella-shaped one that opens when we ask if it's going to rain, a rocket that takes off when NASA launches a real one or see if there are variations in the Bitcoin's price.



Among the possibilities of utensils that can be built we have a weather alert, timer, signal for pauses, alert for low or high Bitcoin, or even a warning that shows when NASA is launching a rocket into space. All paper signals can be checked in the video below.

For the assembly of the paper signals it is necessary the Paper Signals starter kit, which includes an Adafruit plate, all necessary cables and the servo motor that gives life to the structures. Added to that, there will also be a need for a device that has access to Google Assistant - it has gained a function to find services like plumber and electrician recently - a printer and a lot of patience.

This is a great design to pass the time and have fun with the montage. We cannot fail to mention that Google kept the experiment code open, meaning anyone can create any kind of wizard. Do you have any favorite Paper Signals? Do not stop commenting.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Samsung: Graphene Balls Boost Battery Charging Speed by 500 Percent

Graphene

Graphene Balls to Charge your phone Faster

Have you ever stepped out of your house and then realized that your phone is dead and charging could mean another hour or so when you don’t really have the time? Well, all that is going to change with Samsung’s 12 minute charge time. I don’t mean 12 minutes for just a bit of charge either but a full charge cycle.

In smartphones, a number of hardware has undergone changes to not only make the phone more efficient but also to make it more capable. But one of the things that has taken a backseat or which has not developed at the same rate, is the battery used in these smartphones.
 

How can a phone get a full charge in 12 minutes with Graphene balls?

 
Previously, or even now, smart phones had/have lithium-ion batteries. With today’s smartphones doing more than before, they also take up a lot of juice and this requires a lot of charge as well as the time it takes also increases.

Researchers have been looking for alternatives to these lithium-ion batteries but nothing seems to be promising until now.

A new study by Samsung has found, Graphene balls which is supposed to increase battery capacity by 45% and what is the greatest yet- it can increase charging time by a whopping 500%.
 

Why are Graphene Balls so great?

 
Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology or SAIT for short, has discovered this novel method of charging. But coming to the question of why are Graphene balls so great?

The answer is simple, with Graphene balls, the batteries not only have a higher capacity but also a faster charge time than ever before. Earlier, other solutions could either have a higher capacity or a faster charge time but not both.

Getting the ingredients for these graphene ball batteries is neither expensive nor difficult to find and another major advantage is that Samsung can incorporate Graphene balls into the batteries without majorly altering its manufacturing Equipment which otherwise could have been an expensive venture. So it means that the battery will still be able to give its best and at, hopefully a reasonable price for customers.
 

More about Graphene balls…

 
Graphene is a highly advanced substance which is a hexagonal lattice of carbon. SAIT used this lattice structure to create a Graphene ball with the help of silica. These Graphene balls will be located as a protective layer on the cathode and anode ends of the battery. The location is also deliberate as this point allows for greater charging capacity and faster speeds.

With the Graphene balls high stability, ability to act as a semi- conductor and its good thermal conductivity, it is proving to be a really good substitute for those lithium-ion batteries.

Everyone remembers the note 7 fiasco; this time around Samsung is taking no chances with the graphene balls. The graphene balls will allow the battery to charge without getting too hot.

When I’m talking increased capacity with the graphene balls, I mean a tablet’s worth of charging capacity that is 5000-6000mAh at a charge time of a mere 12 minutes.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Santa’s Village is Back in Business

Santa’s Village

Santa-Tracker: Google's Interactive Advent Calendar is Back

Google has built the Santa's Village and now The Santa Tracker is back: As every year, Google has again gathered a series of entertaining games in Santa's Village an interactive Advent calendar. This time kids can even program visually.
 

Santa-Tracker: From a misprint in 1955 into the Internet age

 
This Santa's Village has a long tradition at Google. Already in 2004, the search engine showed for the first time children on Google Maps the supposed course of Santa's journey from Santa's Village on Christmas Eve. The tradition is actually much older and was long before Google or the Internet. In fact, the Santa Tracker was created by a misprint in 1955.

At that time, the US mail order company Sears printed an advertisement that asked children to call Santa Claus from Santa's Village. However, instead of connecting to Sears, the number led to the North American Air and Space Defense Command (NORAD). In order not to disappoint the calling children, the local soldiers were ordered to give them the alleged position of Santa Claus. This is how a tradition emerged that, in cooperation with Google, spilled over into the Internet from 2004 onwards and it created Santa's Village.

In 2012, however, NORAD decided to monitor Santa Claus no longer with Google but with Microsoft's help. Obviously, after eight years, the search giant did not want to break with tradition anymore, so there are now two Santa trackers: Santa from Santa's Village created by Google and the original NORAD.
 
Google's Santa Tracker 2017: This year too with Coding Games
 
Google's Santa from Santa's Village has long been more than a preparation for Santa's fictive itinerary. It's now an interactive Advent calendar, featuring a range of Christmas games and informational materials. Kids learn, for example, how the Christmas traditions in different countries of the world look like.

In this beautiful Santa's Village, we particularly like the Coding game available since December 2nd. Here children have to program a virtual plotter so that a snowflake comes out of it. This is done using a visual programming language modeled on Scratch. This Santa's Village from Google is available as in previous years as a website and Android app.
 
The original: Santa Tracker by NORAD supports Alexa and Cortana
 
NORAD's original Santa tracker will also be available again in 2017. Here, too, children can learn about Christmas celebrations from all over the world. There are also different games. Unlike Google, however, the NORAD site makes no effort to deduce the desired language from your source. Children therefore have to manually switch to the various languages via a drop-down menu.

Interestingly, the Santa Tracker makers have not overslept the current hype about voice-controlled assistance systems. On Dec. 24th, according to the creators, you can ask Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana where Santa is currently in, and then get an answer from Santa's tracker.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

What is KRACK Hack vulnerability

KRACK Hack

What is Krack

Krack is said to be an abbreviation for Key reinstallation attack which tends to involve an attacker utilising a one-time key which has been provided to the device of a client intending to connect to Wi-Fi network.

According to KU Leuven’s Mathy Vanhoef the researcher who discovered the vulnerability, his discoveries had been reported by tech site Ars Technica recently. He states that in some of the instances, hackers tend to exploit Krack in order to inject malware like ransomware in websites.

Vanhoef, informs that on doing so, the hacker has the potential to decrypt information which has been swapped from the access point with the client device wherein the personal details such as credit card numbers, together with messages and password can be exposed. It is here that the process of the hack can take place as described on the website of Vanhoef.

This latest discovered vulnerability can permit attackers to seize sensitive data which is transmitted between Wi-Fi access point and a computer or a mobile device which can be encrypted. This error is known as Krack that affects WPA2 which is a security protocol extensively utilised in the up-to-date Wi-Fi devices.
 

Four-Way Process Handshake

 
When a device tends to connect with a protected Wi-Fi network, there is a four-way process handshake for Krack , which occurs wherein this handshake warrants that both the client and the access point have the precise login authorisations for the network.

This tends to generate a new encryption key in order to protect web traffic wherein the encryption key is installed at step three of the four-way handshake. However the access point at times tends to resend the same key if it considers that the message could have been misplaced.

 Research of Vanhoef has discovered that the attackers could force the access point in order to install the identical encryption key which the intruder could utilise to attack the encryption protocol and decrypt the data. Vanhoef cautions that any device that seems to support Wi-Fi could probably be affected by Krack though Linux-based devices together with Android devices running version 6.0 or higher of the Android operating system are likely to be in danger. Presently it would comprise of over 40% of Android devices.

 

Update Wi-Fi Devices

 
Proof of the concept had been displayed by Vanhoef portraying how exploitation utilising the Krack technique was possible. He cautioned on his website that he was not in a position to determine if such attacks had been actively utilised.

Vanhoef also mentioned that in order to protect the user from Krack attacked, it was essential to update Wi-Fi devices such as the smartphones, laptops and tablets no sooner the updates are made available. Users are also cautioned to update their firmware of router. A security update addressing the issue had also been released by Microsoft according to the reports of The Verge.

Wi-Fi Alliance which is a network of companies making Wi-Fi devices, defining Wi-Fi standards and programs had informed that platform providers have begun organizing patches for the purpose of addressing the problem.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Beetles Backpacks Earthquake Detect Trapped Humans

Beetles Backpacks

New age real beetles equipped with backups set to boost disaster management efforts

Scientists were looking for new way to boost the disaster management efforts on the global scale by bringing the world’s first smallest disaster management squad. The look of the beetles is very much similar to wearing backpack but it does have a number of unique features. These beetles have the ability to detect the carbon dioxide within the collapsed building and they controlled remotely using the tiny packs fitted right on their back. The carbon dioxide being released by the people trapped inside the buildings and other places will help in getting them detected by these beetles and rescue efforts will be centered round getting them safely and soundly fast.

 

Saving lives by detecting carbon dioxide

 
Scientists are immensely hopeful that these beetles will be sent in areas which have suffered from earthquakes, hurricanes and other disaster to boost the rescue efforts. The detectors placed on the beetles will help the people controlling the beetles to locate the life in the rubble. These beetles will be able to find whoever or whatever is generating carbon dioxide and could help in lessening the time usually lost in finding the victims after disaster events. Secondly it will also remove the need of digging up areas in hope of finding people alive rather focusing on concentrating on such areas from where carbon dioxide is being generated and there is more likelihood of finding the trapped person or persons.
 

The team behind this new age technology

 
These new age cyborg beetles have been developed by a group of scientists at Nanyang Technological University (NTU). The lead scientist on this research has asserted that these beetles will help in locating, finding and detecting the survivors buried below the debris and rubles quickly than any other technology present at hand. It will also help in combing a wide or large area within the shortest amount of time to get to the survivors as quickly as possible. The small size and some tool used in the development of the cyborg beetles makes them more suitable to get through the small spaces with much agility.



Scientists had made use of the darkling beetles and their backs are fitted with the tiny computer with the use of simple beeswax. The computer is used by the beetle handler to send electrical pulses to the beetle which is received by its antenna and helps in steering them on the right month. Beetles makes use of the temperature and heartbeat vibration apart from the carbon dioxide generation in order to detect survivors.

A number of critics have emerged who are actively against the use of the beetles for the rescue efforts. They believe that putting a tiny computer on the back of the beetles and steering them to detect and fin survivors is nothing less than animal torture. They are asking the scientists to make use of the mechanical robots rather than real beetles. Scientists has stated that they had taken good care of the beetles and when they are not being controlled then are living their normal lives.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Google Can Tell If Someone is Looking at Your Phone over Your Shoulder

Android 8.1
Android 8.1 is all set to make its debut in December of this year. While the Beta version of the OS is already out, android is bringing out an update to 8.1 Users are encouraged to get the update onto their beta versions or in case of no beta version, they will be able to get the update only once they download it. This is in order to make a seamless transition from the old Android version to the new one.

Besides all the bug fixes and security patches, the update to android 8.1 also makes enhancements to Goggle Go which is meant for mobiles running on 1GB or less of memory space and also enhancements to Neural networks API which will basically enhance mobile intelligence.

8.1 Update and Pixel Phones: 


All the pixels, coming December will run on android 8.1. With the update all pixel phones will be close to the final version of the OS. The phones will get all the latest in neural networks API, which is at level 27, and all the latest updates besides the usual bug fixes and security patches.

With the 8.1 update, Pixel 2 users get Pixel Visual Core which is an additional processor for images that works alongside a third party app. So apps using Android camera API, can take HDR+ pics.

TensorFlowLite and 8.1: 


The update to 8.1 creates enhancements to Neural Networks API and accelerated performance to Google’s intelligence framework, TensorFlowLite.

All developers can now get their hands on TensorFlowLite download. Neural Networks API allows TensorFlowLite to run models such as Smart Reply, Inception V3 and MobileNets.

8.1 Update for App Developers: 


Developers are encouraged to get their apps tested before the official release of android 8.1 in December. With the new update, developers can test their apps from Google play. For phones that are not pixel or nexus, developers can get their apps tested on an emulator for android 8.1

Speeding up App Development: 


Developers can speed up the process of developing apps by using android studio 3.0. Android studio 3.0 allows developers to not only speed up app development but also has features like Instant Apps, XML Fonts, adaptive icons and more

A side Note…

Google recently presented a project, which they call electronic screen protector. All Google pixel phones will have this feature whereby the front facing camera on the phone and its artificial intelligence show if someone is looking into the phone without permission.

This new intelligence temporarily pauses apps to inform the user that someone is peeking at their screen. It is said that this feature works in all types of light settings and all poses. The peeping tom can be identified within 2 milliseconds.

One of the major reasons for this feature to run fast is that all processing is done on the phone itself and not from a remote server.

A major encouragement to Developers is the invention of GoogleFlowLite. Developers can now develop apps using artificial intelligence more quickly and with more computing power and less storage than its former GoogleFlow.

Friday, 1 December 2017

MIT Team Wins Mars City Design Contest

Redwood Forest idea by MIT team helps them win Mars City Design contest

 
We aren’t going to Mars anytime soon but NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) are simply giving wings to our aspiration with a unique competition. A competition conducted by these two premium space research organization has asked the participants to bring innovative solution for problems likely to be faced while journeying to the Mars. This particular competition focused on building design habitats which can be utilized on the Red Planet in future and it has been aptly titles International Mars City Design competition. Winner for 2017 edition of this completion is a bunch of engineers and architects from the Massachusetts of Technology (MIT).
 

Aiming for Mars City

 
A number of contests are conducted all round the world by different space research organization and private players to solve the problems associated with journeying or living on the Red Planet. The Mars City Design competition is quite well known and notable as it exclusively aims to some up with such solutions which help in building livable and sustainable spaces on Mars. It is also looking forward that the participants will come up with some solution which will allow astronauts to make a return journey with unique and exotic Martian resources with limited cargo.
 

Redwood Forest is a design for Mars city

 
MIT team has termed their winning design ‘Redwood Forest’ which as the name suggests has a collection of tree habitats and it is connected together using a system of tunnels termed ‘roots’. These roots effectively helps in navigating through the Redwood Forest as one can move from one tree habitat to another safely. It will also feature a number of private spaces along with a unique and amazing ‘shirtsleeve transportation’ system. Making use of the tunnels in the Mars City design will help in providing the residents the much needed protection against the abundant cosmic radiation, extreme atmospheric changes and other calamities present on the Martian surface.

The Redwood Forest wouldn’t be going to find itself as a sprawling habitat rather it will be made in the form of dome housing as many as 50 people. MIT engineers are looking forward to get 200 of just domes constructed which will be more than enough to support the group of 10,000 first settlers on the Red Planet. The best thing about this structure is that it easily offers private and public spaces along the possibility of harvesting plants and water on the northern plains of Mars.

MIT Engineers has stated that their Mars City will mimic the functionality and feel of the forest to its very core and it will utilize the existing Martian soil called regolith and ice or water along with the ‘sun’ to support life on the planet. This team even spiritually defines that having a design of forest brings the potential to showcase the outward growth which is seen in the nature and it will help in spreading the habit across the Red Planet in the future.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Double-Duty Textile Developed Could Keep Warm or Cool

Double-Duty Textile
Engineers from Stanford University have developed a low-priced, plastic-based Double-duty textile that interwoven in the fabric refreshes the body much more efficiently than the natural or synthetic fabrics of the clothes we wear today.

The study, published recently by Science, suggests that this new family of Double-duty textile can form the basis of clothing that keeps people cool in hot climates without the need for air conditioning.
"If you can refresh people, it's better than refreshing the building where they live or work, so we'll save energy," Yi Cui, an associate professor at Stanford University, said in a statement.

The new Double-duty textile cools by allowing sweat to evaporate through the fabric, something that normal fabrics already do, but the novelty is that it provides a second innovative mechanism to cool the body.
 

Human heat passes through plastic

 
The Double-duty textile allows the heat that the body emits as infrared radiation to pass through the plastic Double-duty textile. In fact, the blankets warm us because they trap that kind of heat near the body, which is the same that makes the body visible in the dark when wearing night vision goggles.

Between 40% and 60% of our body's heat dissipates in the form of infrared radiation when we are sitting in an office, another of the study's authors, Shanhui Fan, has indicated, but so far "there has been very little or no research on the design of fabrics according to their characteristics of thermal radiation ".

For the development of the new plastic weave, the researchers used nanotechnology, photons and chemistry to confer polyethylene a series of desirable characteristics for a Double-duty textile that is used to dress.

Thus, it allows thermal radiation, air and water vapor to pass through it, besides being opaque to visible light, and allows infrared radiation to pass through it, because that is one of the characteristics of polystyrene, one whose uses is to wrap food.

Chemically treated polystyrene


The Stanford experts did have to face two problems in the use of polystyrene: that it is waterproof and that it lets in light. To solve these problems, the researchers found a polystyrene variant that has a nanostructure that is opaque to visible light, but transparent to infrared radiation - allowing the body's heat to escape.

They also modified this Double-duty textile by treating it with harmless chemicals to allow vapor molecules to evaporate through nanopores in the plastic, allowing it to breathe like a natural fiber.

Once the material was obtained and to make it more similar to the Double-duty textile, they created a version with three layers, two of them treated polystyrene separated by a cotton mesh to give it more strength and thickness.

The experts continue with their research to add more colors to the new Double-duty textile and give it characteristics and textures that make it more similar to clothing.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Artificial Photosynthesis Gets Big Boost From New Catalyst Developed

A step Closer to Artificial Photosynthesis

 
We all know about the continuing threat of global warming. Global warming is caused by many gases in the air but one of the most important concerns in the world is about carbon emissions. As carbon emissions come from burning of fossil fuel, which gives us our energy, there are undoubtedly many steps taken by researchers worldwide to look for alternate sources of renewable energy.

One such attempt is being made by researchers at the University of Toronto. They are trying to replicate the photosynthesis process used by plants, in order to create a renewable source of energy. While there are many other renewable sources of energy out there such as wind, water and solar energy all these can be expensive. So researchers at the University are trying to use artificial photosynthesis to create an alternate source of energy.
 

What is meant by Artificial Photosynthesis?

 
So we all know that plants get their energy by using the sun’s rays to convert carbon dioxide and water into their food. So the scientists at the University of Toronto are trying to do just by using artificial photosynthesis.

In plants, water is broken down into protons and oxygen gas while with carbon dioxide; it is broken down into carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is what is actually needed, which is then through an industrial process known as Fischer-Tropsch synthesis converted to hydro carbon fuels which will give us our energy source.
 

Problems encountered in Artificial Synthesis:

 
While breaking down water and carbon dioxide into its respective components, researchers encountered problems with their catalysts. The process of breaking down the components required in artificial photosynthesis, involves two reactions, while the first reaction uses high levels of PH the second reaction uses neutral PH levels.

This inconsistency in replicating artificial photosynthesis poses a problem because the movement of particles between reactions consumes a lot of energy. Therefore the artificial photosynthesis process is not as efficient as it could be.

Overcoming problems in artificial photosynthesis:


In order to bring in more efficiency into the artificial synthesis process, researchers have developed a new catalyst for the initial reaction. Initially water was split into protons and oxygen but this reaction involved high PH levels which made the artificial photosynthesis process inefficient.

But now, researchers are using a new catalyst which will use a neutral PH level in the artificial photosynthesis process, just as in the second reaction. This discovery now means that energy is not lost by moving particles through both reactions.
 

Benefits of the Catalyst in Artificial photosynthesis:

 
The new catalyst which is made of nickel, cobalt, iron and phosphorous, consumes less energy in the artificial photosynthesis process and when combined with the second reaction, the overall energy consumption is brought down.

The elements used in making the catalyst are not only cheap but also safe. It can even be made at room temperatures using inexpensive equipment. This makes the overall artificial photosynthesis process not only inexpensive to replicate but also increases the efficiency of the system.

While testing the catalyst, it showed stability for all of the 100 hours that it was tested.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

NeoXCraft: British Company Reveals Its Luxury Flying Car

The future in cars is upon us. We saw flying cars in ‘The Jetsons’, a serial on Cartoon Network, some years ago. The kids were talking about flying cars then. This seems like becoming a reality.

VRCO (Vehicle Redesign Company), has revealed that they will be launching a flying car in 2020. This amphibious car will not only fly in air, but travel on the road as well.

The car is slated to take off vertically. In other words, you can even take off in the NeoXCraft from right outside your home or your place of work.

The NeoXCraft project has been sponsored by investors to the tune of about 500,000 pounds. VRCO is expecting to get another 10m pounds from private individuals. This backing for the NeoXCraft project will help the company in creating these futuristic vehicles as well as get the Civil Aviation Authority to certify it. It will be a big boost in the car manufacturing sector, as there will be no carbon emission, less road congestion and promises to be more efficient.

About 100 orders for the NeoXCraft vehicles have already been placed. They are expected to be ready in the year 2020. Only those who are qualified, will be able to pilot the NeoXCraft.

Features

The NeoXCraft can accommodate two passengers with a maximum of 180kg capacity. It can travel at speeds of 210mph (320 kph) and between 1000ft to 3000ft for an hour. It will be controlled by a computer program and will also have an in-built parachute. The NeoXCraft comes at a cost of 1.5 million pounds ($2 million).

It has 4 high-powered fans that act as propellers, enabling the NeoXCraft to reach its speed of 210mph. At the time of landing, these fans fold down and you can use it as wheels while driving on the road.

Working Principle

The NeoXCraft will take off vertically, making it possible to take off from right outside your home or work place. The 4 high-powered fans act as propellers enabling the NeoXCraft to attain its speed of 210mph. The NeoXCraft is computer controlled and equipped with voice commands to enable flying in the air and driving on the road. At the time of landing, the fans will fold and act as wheels for driving on the road. Parking too is done by the NeoXCraft itself. You need to push a button to convert the NeoXCraft from flight mode to road mode.

It is considered to have a short range for driving and medium range for flying.

If the NeoXCraft proves to be a success, then it will become the much anticipated car of the future. It can be a trendsetter for other models. They will have an autonomous electric program that will help to fly passengers with no driver. It will bring about road decongestion, purer air; free from carbon emission. We will see a future with flying cars, which will actually be the supercars of the sky with all the trimmings of luxury and high-performance.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

What Are Headphone Drivers and How They Effect Sound Quality

Headphone
For in-ear headphones, there is always talk of dynamic drivers and balanced armature drivers. Today we deal with the topic and show the differences. If the in-ear listener sits properly in the ear canal and thus "closes" well, the space between the eardrum and the membrane is closed and very small. The whole thing then works like a kind of spring system (or "push-pull mechanism") and the membrane can move the eardrum well with little deflection and little energy, ensuant in a very good bass upshot. As soon as there is a leak in this system, this is immediately noticeable by the fact that low frequencies are lost (as is the case with ear buttons). This is because the human ear is less sensitive to low frequencies (below about 150 Hz) than to higher frequencies.

So if we want to hear low frequencies better then a lot of energy has to be applied to amplify them. When using loudspeakers, low frequencies are still physically noticeable. This is not the case with headphones. Also, speaker diaphragms are larger and more stable (thicker material), which allows much more air to be set in motion than headphones. In order to be able to make the best possible use of the low energy that the headphone system develops, care must be taken to ensure that the headphones or in-ear headphones are optimally terminated.

Ok! Which driver was used certainly determines how well the in-ear headphones sound. In the development of the drivers most of the money usually flows in the production of in-ear headphones.
 

What are balanced armature drivers?

 
Balanced Armature Drivers (BA) are often used only in in-ear headphones in the higher price segment. Balanced armature drivers are made to sound particularly good in a certain frequency range, such as: As the heights, which is why in-ear headphones with Balanced Armature drivers often several drivers installed. For example, the Sony XBA 3 iP incorporates 3 Balanced Armature drivers, which ensure that the entire sound spectrum is covered.
 

Advantages of Balanced Armature Driver

 
  • You can make a frequency range sound great
  • The sound sounds more detailed
  • The sound plays faster
  • The treble sounds clearer than dynamic drivers
  • They are smaller than in-ear headphones with dynamic sound transducers and weigh less
  • They need less power than dynamic drivers
 

Disadvantages of Balanced Armature drivers

 
  • The bass is weaker than dynamic drivers
  • In-ear headphones with Balanced Armature drivers are more expensive
  • Often several drivers are necessary to cover all frequency ranges
 

What are dynamic drivers?

 
Dynamic drivers in in-ear headphones make it possible for in-ear headphones to be offered at a good price. Unlike Balanced Armature drivers, only one driver covers the entire sound spectrum. They work on the same principle as loudspeaker boxes.
Advantages of dynamic drivers
  • Cheaper than Balanced Armature sound transducer
  • Bass frequency is better
  • The sound signature is better coordinated
  • Often they are also more robust than Balanced-Armature drivers
 

Disadvantages of dynamic drivers

 
  • No detailed sound like Balanced Armature drivers
  • The heights are not that clear in comparison
  • They weigh more and are bigger too
 

Balanced Armature Drivers and Dynamic Drivers

 
In some in-ear headphones both types of drivers are worn, such. B. the Sony XBA H3. The advantage of having multiple types of drivers is that the bass and treble sound great, but the case is usually larger and they weigh more.

Moving Armature driver


Moving Armature drivers are new drivers that combine the benefits of Balanced Armature drivers and dynamic drivers. Moving Armature drivers work like Balanced Armature drivers but have the advantage that the entire frequency range is covered in contrast to Balanced Armature drivers where multiple drivers are needed, the Moving Armature driver in-ear headphones only need a driver. However, very few models use this type of driver so far and they are also quite expensive.

The classic and most commonly encountered headphone driver is - as with speakers - the electrodynamic principle assign.

However, in order to map the entire frequency spectrum as accurately as possible, partially modified drivers are used, such as the Variomotion technology from AGK (depending on the frequency position, a larger or smaller part of the diaphragm swings) or the ring driver of the Sennheiser HD800.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Google Cloud Natural Language API

Cloud Natural Language API
Google’s Cloud Natural Language API

Cloud Natural Language API, established by Google is said to provide customers with language analyser which according to the company `reveals the structure as well as the meaning of your text. The public beta launch of Cloud natural language API is a new service giving developers access to Google-powered emotion analysis, entity, recognition together with grammar analysis.

 Some of this tends to gauge believing some words positive and the others negative. When observed by Motherboard it was found that the analyser of Google interpreted some words like homosexual to be negative. This is evident that the API that tends to judge depending on the information it has been fed, now seems to give out partial analysis. The tool has been developed to provide companies with a preview on how their language would be expected.

Editing complete sentences would provide predictive analysis on each word and as the overall statement on a negative to positive scale, respectively. AI systems have been trained in utilisation of texts, media as well as books given to it.

Whatever Cloud Natural Language API consumed to form its criteria in assessing English text for sentiment, it influenced the study to negative attribution of certain descriptive terms. No confirmation has been provided by Google to Motherboard as to the body of the text fed to the Cloud Natural Language API.
 
API Connects Other Pre-Trained Machine Learning API
 
Once it begins to engage content from the outside world even if begins with a remote set of contents to comprehend sentiments, it tends to get polluted with the negative word connections found in it. A confirmation had been given by Google to Motherboard that its NLP API had produced biased results in a statement.

There had been clear parallels with the ill-fated as well as impressionable AI chatbots Tay of Microsoft, which had been rapidly, pulled offline by the company in March 2016 after the users of Twitters had taught it to be a shockingly racist as well as sexist conspiracy philosopher.

In July, Google had tried once again with its bot Zo which had learned the same horrible habits form human and had to be quickly shut down. The new API connects the other pre-trained machine-learning API of Google such as the Cloud Speech API which has been made available in public beta, together with the Vision API and the Translate API.
 
Assist Text in English/Spanish/Japanese
 
The latest Cloud Natural Language API presently tends to assist texts in English, Spanish and Japanese. The purpose of Google here is to provide a service which could meet the scale as well as the performance essential for developers and enterprises in a comprehensive range of industries. Providing API for sentiment analysis and entity recognition is not new where services like Thomson Reuters Open Calais have been providing assistance for entity recognition for around ten years now. Sentiment analysis is also not a new concept. On the other hand, grammar analysis API which tend to classify parts of speech and develop dependency analyse trees are not as extensively available still. It would be interesting to know how developers would be utilising these apps though it is easy to see how the same could be utilised to power chat bots for instance and support them in comprehending incoming request.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Researchers Developed Flexible Photonic Devices

Flexible Photonic Devices
Photonics will have a direct impact on many areas of our daily life. Soon photonics will be fundamental, both for the improvement or replacement of existing processes and for the development of new solutions and new products.

On the other hand, society demands products with better and better features: new functionalities and improved properties, lightweight, flexible photonic devices, and capable of adapting to different materials and surfaces. Likewise, these developments must be competitive and not increase the price of the final product.

A team of MIT Associate professor Juejin Hu from the University of Central florida, China and France has developed a new method of making light based photonic devices. These special flexible photonic devices is made from a kind of glass called Chalcogenide. This specialized kind of glass material has a great flexible property which can be bend and strech to the very large extent without any damage. These flexible photonic devices can be used in field of biomedical sensors and flexible connectors in Electronics.

How about a device that can simultaneously detect blood oxygen level, heart rate and blood pressure? Yes, these flexible photonic devices of optical technology which are made from the strechy and bendable material can be mounted in skin to monitor the condition.

By using these kinds of new light based flexible photonic devices, we can stave off the condition for the conversion process. Because, if the original data is light based is having the advantages for a lot of applications.

The current photonic devices applied in the field are made up of rigid materials on rigid matters thus rises an intrinsic counterpart. The polymer based softmaterials is having a less refractive index tracks to not so good ability to circumscribe a light beam. To confront this issue, the team of MIT researchers have developed a stiff material that can stretch and bend which is almost like a Rubber. Its confuguration is like a spring made from a polymer matter has no noticeable abjection in its optical performance.

Other flexible photonic devices that are made by implanting nanorods of a rigid substrates in a polymer base need extra developmental steps. And hence they are not congruous with current systems. These flexible photonic devices can also be used for applications where the devices require to adapt to the rippled surfaces of some other material. But optics technology is extremely sensitive to strain, thus can observe deformations of lower than one hundredth of one percent.

This team recently has formulated a way of segregating layers of photonics, made of chalcogenide and graphene with customary semiconductor photonic electronic equipment. Current method of segregating such material need them to be made on a surface and then take off and tranfern to a semiconductor thin layer. This process is very difficult. But the new procedure permits the layers to be fancied directly on the surface of a semiconductor. This process no need a special temperature condition for the entire process and thus allows very simplified fabrication and more punctilious coalition.

This team of MIT researchers have confirmed very soon they develop this new technology of flexible photonic devices to reach commercially.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Introducing the New Firefox Quantum Web Browser with Double Speed

Firefox Quantum Web Browser

Amazingly faster performance with lower RAM usage is the key highlight of Firefox’s Quantum Browser

 
Once the web browser world was ruled by the Internet Explorer then came the Google Chrome which simply established itself as the numero uno with no major threats. Firefox is waging the war to dethrone the Chrome from the top position and to regain its dominance in the arena but it wouldn’t be a cake walk. Firefox is lying just at the bottom of the major popular web browsers by amounting just 9.1 market share and running right below the Microsoft Edge and Safari browser. Mozilla is looking forward to change its fortune with the launch new improved and faster Firefox Quantum browser.
Quantum translates into a fast browser

The Firefox Quantum browser comes with a built-in technology running on the 64 bit but at the same time it makes use of 30 per cent lesser RAM than other conventional browsers. In this way Firefox is competing right against the Chrome by offering better performance by lesser utilization of the map but this isn’t being communicated with the target audience with a massive PR strategy.

Firefox has went with a major overhaul for its browser by improvising not just the user interface but also the browser engines which power the search results. The new engine powering the Firefox Quantum browser comes has the ability to work in parallel manner which make sit amazingly faster than the earlier version of the web-browser due to the user of the latest Servo engine. Mozilla has even stated that this Servo engine will be able to offer support for the Mixed Reality features and functionalities which are expected to be next big thing in the technology world.
 

Bigger change for better browsing

 
This new browser has also lowered the user interface gradients to bring better visibility to the users. Microsoft Edge browser made a bad decision getting rid of the gradients which made it extremely difficult to navigate through the browser but that aren’t the case with Firefox’s browser. On the benchmark test this browser glides like a charm and comes with better numbers than all the browsers in the competition. The Speedometer benchmark gave this browser a score of mighty 70 compared to the 45 which the pre-Quantum Firefox browser came up with. Using the JetStream benchmark tests everyone was surprised with the 151 score achieved by the Firefox Quantum when compared to the Google Chrome’s 144 score.

All the benchmark testing and normal day-to-day usage suggests that this Firefox browser is way faster and snappier than other browser available in the market. Firefox has fixed all the bugs related to performance as well as responsiveness to enhance the overall user experience. Quantum browser certainly appears to be a major upgrade over the earlier version of the Firefox and it is right step towards bringing better browsing experience to the users. Now it all depends on the users whether they adopt the Firefox Quantum browser to increase its market share and give a stiff completion to the omnipotent domination of the Google Chrome.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

AI Image Recognition Fooled By Single Pixel Change

AI Image Recognition

Adversarial Model Images


According to research, computers can be misled into thinking that an image of a taxi can be a dog by only altering one pixel. These limits developed from the methods that Japanese function in tricking the extensively utilised AI-based image recognition system.

Several of the other scientists tend to now develop `adversarial’ model images to reveal the fragility of some kinds of recognition software. Experts have cautioned that there is no quick and easy means of fixing image recognition system of stopping them from being duped in this manner.

Su Jiawei together with colleagues at Kyushu University, in their research had made small alterations to plenty of the images which were then analysed by extensively utilised AI-based image recognition systems. All the systems that had been tested had been based on a kind of AI known as deep neural networks.

These systems usually tend to learn on being trained with plenty of various examples for the purpose of providing them with an intellect of how objects such as dogs and taxis tend to vary. It was observed by the researchers that altering one pixel in about 74% of the test images made the neural nets mistakenly label what they saw.

Designed – Pixel Based Attacks


A variety of pixel based attacks had been designed by Japanese researchers which had caught all the state-of-the-art image recognitions system that had been investigated. Mr Su from Kyushu leading the research had commented that as far as they were aware there was no data-set or network which is more robust than others.

 Several other research groups all over the world have been now developing `adversarial examples’ which tend to reveal the flaw of these systems according to Anish Athalye from the Massachusetts institute of Technology – MIT who has been dealing with this issue. A specimen made by Mr Athalye together with his team is a 3D printed turtle that one image classification system insists on labelling a rifle.

He informed BBC that more and more real world schemes have begun to incorporate neural networks and tends to be huge concern which these schemes could be possible to destabilize or attack utilising adversarial examples. He stated that though there had been no instances of malicious attacks in real life, the fact that these apparently smart schemes could be deceived with ease was a matter of concern.

Methods of Resisting Adversarial Exploitation


Web giants comprising of Facebook, Amazon as well as Google seems to be known for investigating methods of resisting adversarial exploitation. He stated that it is not some strange `corner case’ and it has been shown in their work that one can have a single object which steadily fools a network over viewpoints, even in the physical world.

He further added that the machine learning community do not tend to comprehend completely what seems to be going on with adversarial examples or why they seem to exist. Learning system established on neural network tends to involve creating links between large numbers of nodes such as nerve cells in a brain.

Analysis involves the network creating plenty of decision regarding what it tends to see and every decision should lead the network nearer to the accurate answer.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Google Introducing Certified Kubernetes

Kubernetes

Since its launch three years back, Kubernetes has gained a lot of popularity over the years, with many vendors even developing their own offerings. What makes the Kubernetes software so successful is that it is programmed to run anywhere and its consistency.

There are roughly 60 new Kubernetes platforms and distributions out there.
 

What is a Kubernetes Certification program?

 
One of the main concerns to users of the Kubernetes program is that it should be consistent and reliable anywhere and at any time. This issue is compounded with the fact that there are many vendors out there who are now offering Kubernetes, so consistency over platforms does become a major concern for any client.

In order to address this issue, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation or more commonly known as CNCF in partnership with the Kubernetes community, have recently introduced the beta version of Kubernetes conformance certification program.
 

The Kubernetes Certification Program:

 

With this certificate in mind, vendors are able to reassure their clients that the software they are using conform to standards and will be reliable in any of the platforms they use it on.

Besides conforming to standards, the Kubernetes certification also gives users confidence of a high level of common functionality of the Kubernetes software over all platforms.

Basically clients can be sure that their software will work as expected.

 

How to get the Kubernetes conformation Certificate?

 
Cloud Native Computing Foundation in partnership with the Kubernetes community are requesting all Kubernetes vendors to run the conformance test and then send the results to the CNCF for review and to give the certificate.

All vendors that have been tested and certified during the beta version of the program will have their names published when the actual version of the program is released.

 

Changes to the Kubernetes certificate:

 
Kubernetes certification standards will receive updates as and when there are software developments to the Kubernetes program itself.

This is done in order to ensure that the updated version of the Kubernetes software conforms to updated standards and a new certificate will be issued in effect.

Every vendor has to get recertified each year in order to provide their clients with the reassurance that not only are they getting a software that complies with uniform standards but is also updated with all the latest and newest in the Kubernetes software.

Once the vendors have their certification in hand they will be able to display the Kubernetes certified logo on all marketing and packaging material.
 

Advantages of Kubernetes Certification:

 
One of the main advantages with a Kubernetes certificate is that there will be smoother flow of data between cloud environments and local operations. The workload can also be split over multiple platforms.
Another advantage is that there will be consistent updates and access to support resources and community software.

Monday, 13 November 2017

BankBot Android Malware Sneaks into the Google Play Store

BankBot: Google’s little Sneak

A malware known for stealing people’s bank details by posing as a legitimate bank’s web page has struck hundreds of users yet again.

The malware was spotted on the Google play store in April of this year, with a recurrence in September and then finally it has come around again in November. Each of these times the Bank Bot nuisance has been removed by the Google team.

What essentially is BankBot?

BankBot is malware that first made its appearance in the Google Play store in April of this year. Posing as a legitimate app it fools users into downloading it. BankBot then asks for permission to SMS, bank and other details, all the while appearing to be a legitimate process of downloading the app.

Finally BankBot poses as a bank page when any payment has to be made. This bank page appears as an overlay to the actual one. BankBot even has access to an individual’s SMS app to take care of dual authentication processes which is required for some banks.

Why was it so easy for users to get fooled?


Users of Google’s Play store downloaded a seemingly genuine app known as Crypto Currency Market Prices. This app appears to be the front of the malware. Having a proper appearance and containing all the details it promised to have, it was very easy for users to get fooled by the app.

By having a working app, users were easily taken in by its appearance to doubt any foul practice. Had it been an app which appeared to be full of spam or one that didn’t work well or could not be opened, it would have given users an idea of what the app really was about.

The second point to note was that the malware was removed twice by the Google team with the security protocols being renewed and updated and in spite of all this BankBot found its way back into the system.

Updates to BankBot:

Since its first appearance in April, the BankBot malware has under gone a series of updates. These updates include code obfusication and the ability to bypass Android’s accessibility services.

This coupled with the fact that it was able to penetrate Google’s security protocol is an added way in which the malware has developed over the span of 7 months.

Users affected by BankBot:

The crypto currency app containing the malware was removed from the Google Play store but not before hundreds of users downloaded it to their mobile devices.

As far as Google is concerned, its 1.4 million were safe from the attack. It is unsure how many users were affected when the malware first arrived on the scene in April of this year.

Google Play store is full of apps that can cause serious damage to an individual’s device or in this case to their bank account. It is therefore important to keep an eye out on what you’re downloading. This is not the first time Google has become embroiled in the malware found on its Play store, recently there was news that a fake Whatsapp app was doing the rounds on the Google Play store.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Why Google is Reading Your Google Docs

Google Docs
Most of the users of the online word processing service by Google, known as Google Docs, were in for a surprise on Tuesday when their documents faced a block as a result of violating the policies. Many users were reported saying they lost access to either their wedding vows or academic researches, for example, receiving notifications saying that their documents had violated the terms of service of Google Docs. This error was reported by dozens of users on the product forums of Google.
While Google acted quickly and put the blame on an erroneous update that locked its users out of their own documents by mistake, the whole incident disclosed what many people did not notice, that Google is scrutinising the apparently personal files stored in Google Docs.

While Google was under pressure to keep a better watch on the kind of videos that were being uploaded on YouTube, deleting content that was illegal from its search results and better monitoring of its advertising network, hardly few people were aware that Google Docs was also being watched. Google Docs is not only used by people for their day-to-day works but also by many businesses across the globe with possibly classified information. Rachael Bale, a journalist at National Geographic, wrote that she found this kind of monitoring creepy. Another user, Kelly O’Mara, who is writer, stated that people really need to take into consideration how much information they have been feeding into Google Docs.

While hardly few will actually read it, the terms of service of Google Drive forbid spam, hate or violent speech, pornography, the spread of private information, etc. Only shared files are subjected to these rules, so the files that are kept private are apparently an exception.

A spokesman for Google stated that Docs and other files in Google Drive are regulated by an algorithm that keeps a watch on the abuse of its policies and if they are found to supposedly be a violation then it automatically blocks those files. Unlike a few systems, where the supposed matter is escalated to a moderator, here there is no human evaluation involved.

The spokesman also said that the primary reason its algorithm scans the files is for the prevention of computer viruses or spam from spreading. It is not clear if Google’s algorithm is utilised to keep a check on pornography or other types of misuse, or if the policy is equally applied to work as well as personal accounts.

After many users were locked out of their vital documents, the company stated that they made a code push that mistakenly marked a small percentage of Google Docs as abusive, which resulted in those documents getting blocked automatically. They also mentioned that a fix was already in place and all users will soon regain full access to their private docs. They issued an apology for the disruption while maintaining that their main focus is user safety.

While Google provides free of charge access to its “G Suite” of programs to its corporate users, Google Docs is available to consumers for free same as Gmail, Maps and its other services. Its company privacy policy mentions that it collects information from Google Docs along with other services, but it is not clarified whether this information is used for adverts.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

A New Set of Eyes in Your Home: Cherry Home

There are a range of high security cameras out there, this one is a little different in monitoring your house. Cherry home made by Cherry labs, a startup company is the latest in AI technology. Besides this gadget being the eyes in your house it also senses your every movement and the layout of the room that it is in.

The cherry home cam can even identify you wherever you are in your home. The Cherry home sensors are able to detect your eye color, proportions of your body and even hair color. This gadget can do all this and more with its processor and sensors.

This gadget can also sense your laugh, scream and squeals and analyses them to see whether there is any danger. The info is then passed onto to an app that can be installed on any smartphone. The cherry home cam can also dial 911 in case of an emergency.

With the latest in AI technology, this gadget is able to triangulate the room it is in and give real time data to an app on your smartphone. So an individual can see all that is happening in the room that they are monitoring.

The gadget also notifies you in case there is an incident such as a person falling down. It is able to discern an individual’s laughter and scream when they are in danger.

Right now the Cherry home cam can do all these things but the startup company has also promised more in the future. According to the company, the Cherry cam will be able to sync in with your smart home and turn on lights when you need them. Another feature of cherry cam that is in the pipeline could be a breakthrough in what a security cam can do. The Cherry labs is reportedly in talks with pharmaceutical companies in trying to get the Cherry cam to identify when a person is in the process of getting a stroke and then to dial 911 or emergency services.

The gadget is packed with a binocular camera, infrared sensor for night time monitoring, an altimeter, a compass and an accelerometer. So how does this thing actually work? The cam sends data to a central processor with a high end PC to analyze all the data. It connects to other cameras in the house through a mesh WiFi network. It only connects to the cloud when it needs to transfer data to an app on your smartphone.

This Gadget also comes with a coin sized battery that is recharged by the processor cherry cam houses. There are also two batteries that are spares in the camera.

Now for the most important question at what price can a consumer get the incredible Cherry cam? The prices of the Cherry cam are not so conducive to buying them. A starter pack is available for 900$, a camera in this range would include 2 sensors and a processor while a pack of 4 sensors would cost you 1200$.