Monday, 16 October 2017

SWIFT Says Hackers Still Targeting Bank Messaging System

The $81 million heist that was carried out from the Bangladesh Bank in February was done by attackers who hacked into the bank’s SWIFT software. They were able to steal the money by hacking into the software to transfer the money. The attackers were also able to cover up their tracks in a very effective manner.

The attacker, based in Bangladesh, was able to develop a malware which was highly sophisticated and could interact with the local SWIFT software in his vicinity.

SWIFT is a cooperative of 3,000 organizations, based in Belgium. It provides a platform to transfer funds internationally. SWIFT is in the know, that there exists a malware that can reduce the financial institutions systems abilities that can cause various fraudulent transactions on their local systems. They are however saying that this malware is not capable of hacking into their network or causing extreme damage as far as their messaging services are concerned. This is contrary to the reports, which suggest otherwise.

In case of any hacking to the SWIFT software can cause transfer of funds from the victim’s account to the attackers account. As seen in the Bangladesh Bank case, there were 30 SWIFT transactions on FEB 5th, for a withdrawal of $ 1 billion from the US Federal Reserve in New York using the SWIFT bank code. Only $ 81 million could be transferred and the balance $ 6.9 million was still retrievable.

The malware used in the Bangladesh Bank SWIFT software was specially designed with a complete know how of the SWIFT Alliance Access software and excellent malware coding abilities.

The malware used by the attacker was not only used to change the SWIFT transactions, but also to hide any of the changes made, since all the transfers that take place are sent by the SWIFT’s software to a printer. When the transactions are printed out, the officials of banking sector can notice any fraudulent transactions and take action immediately. They can thus prevent any malafide transactions from taking place. The malware used in this case intercepted the SWIFT messages and the altered manipulated copies of such messages were printed. In this way they were able to cover up their fraudulent transactions. The malware used, seems to be a wider attack toolkit, allowing the attacker to send forged instructions for payment and also cover up his tracks. This gave the attacker ample amount of time to carry out the transactions and enabling multiple transactions without being detected.

SWIFT is coming out with a software to counteract such related attacks, including alteration in the database records. The customers on their part are encouraged to keep all their IT systems up to date in order to prevent the attackers from hacking into any loopholes in their local security systems.

A spokesperson has advised their customers to keep an eye on any anomalies seen in their local database records whereby helping the customers to keep their accounts secure. The most vital is to adopt adequate security measures and safeguard their systems.

The authorities warn that the malware and the various related tools can be a threat for SWIFT customers. They can be configured easily and likely to cause similar attacks in future. A worrying aspect is how the attackers sent these transactions, the malware used in the systems and who are the people behind this scam.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

NASA Contracts with BWXT Nuclear Energy to Advance Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Technology

NASA

NASA wants to reach Mars with nuclear power

How powerful does a space rocket have to get to Mars? Apparently, rather more than the more modern we have. This is what NASA thinks, which has reopened the door to Advance Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Technology whose possibilities in space exploration seemed forgotten: nuclear fusion.

Nuclear power propulsion is a fairly popular idea in science fiction. NASA has already done some experiments with it in the 1970s, although the risks of using it outweighed the benefits. Instead, he sent Apollo missions to the Moon with conventional fuel, much less powerful and efficient. The tests will take place at the Nevada National Security Site near Las Vegas. Its ultimate goal is to provide enough energy on the surface of the Red Planet for the production of fuel, habitats and other equipment, when humans settle there.

The last time NASA tested a fission reactor was during the 1960s Systems for Nuclear Auxiliary Power (SNAP) program, which developed two types of nuclear power systems. The first system - thermoelectric generators of radioisotopes, or RTGs - takes advantage of the heat released from the natural decomposition of a radioactive element, such as plutonium. RTGs have fueled dozens of space probes over the years, including the explorer Curiosity currently exploring Mars.

The second technology developed under SNAP was an atom division fission reactor. SNAP-10A was the first - and so far, only - US nuclear power plant to operate in space. Launched on April 3, 1965, the SNAP-10A operated for 43 days, producing 500 watts of electrical power, before an unrelated equipment failure ended the show. The spacecraft remains in Earth orbit.

Russia has been much more active developing and flying spacecraft powered by small fission reactors, Radar Ocean Reconnaissance including 30 Satellites, or RORSAT, which flew between 1967 and 1988, and increased power TOPAZ systems. TOPAZ is an acronym for Thermionic Experiment with Conversion in Active Zone.

However, if the agency wants to meet its goal of sending a manned mission to Mars, it must get a whole rabbit out of the hat. It needs an energy source that will shorten the journey to the red planet for several months, thus reducing the exposure of astronauts and spacecraft to space radiation. The options are not too many, so they have ended up turning a blind eye to nuclear power.

To investigate whether it is possible to equip Advance Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Technology by testing such a motor in a manned spacecraft, NASA has awarded a contract worth 18 million to BWXT, a company specializing in generating atomic energy. His challenge is to create an atomic engine powerful enough to go and return to Mars without risking - at least not too much - the life of astronauts.

On the previous occasion they encountered a seemingly insurmountable problem: for an engine of this type to work, it should be heated to more than 2,000 degrees centigrade, a fairly high temperature that can cause an explosion.

The dilemma is there: if we want to explore the Solar System we need a better source of energy for our rockets. Otherwise, they will never be able to go beyond Mars with the greatest possible risks.

Rolls-Royce Reveals Plans for Autonomous Naval Vessel

Rolls-Royce unveils plans for autonomous naval vessel

The ship concept is designed to be capable of operating offshore for more than 100 days, will shift 700 tons and will reach speeds above 25 knots.

Rolls-Royce has unveiled plans for a single-role, autonomous navy vessel concept with a range of 3,500 nautical miles.

The ship concept is designed to be capable of operating offshore for more than 100 days, will shift 700 tons and will reach speeds above 25 knots. The 60-meter-long vessel is designed to perform a series of unique role missions, eg patrol and surveillance, mine detection or fleet screening. The heart of the boat is a robust and reliable propulsion system. This combines proven Rolls-Royce experience in gas and diesel turbines with a proven track record in electric propulsion, power storage and propellers.

According to Benjamin Thorp, Managing Director of Naval Electrics, Automation, and Control at Rolls-Royce, "Rolls-Royce is seeing the interest of the major armies in autonomous ships, rather than remote-controlled ones, reduce crew risk and reduce construction and operating costs.

"Over the next 10 years, Rolls-Royce expects to see the introduction of medium-sized unmanned rigs, particularly in the main armies, as the concept of mixed manned and unmanned fleets develops.".

The largest manned ships will cover multi-role missions. By allowing the composition of the fleet to blend in this way, the marinas will reap the operational and cost benefits of autonomous navy vessel concept.

The initial design features a complete electric propulsion system that requires fewer auxiliary systems (lubrication, cooling system, etc.) and offers better reliability levels than mechanical counterparts. It has two groups of Rolls-Royce MTU 4000 series that provide about 4MW of electrical power to a 1.5MW propulsion unit. An alternative to diesel engines could be small gas turbines, further improving system reliability and reducing on-board maintenance. Azipull permanent magnet propellers, along with a tunnel pusher mounted at the bow, will make the vessel highly maneuverable. To reduce fuel consumption and extend the range of operation, an additional 3000 kWh of energy storage will facilitate efficient low-speed operations and the vessel will also be equipped with photovoltaic solar panels to generate power when the vessel is on hold.

The absence of crew increases the need for very reliable power and propulsion systems. Rolls-Royce's approach is to combine advanced intelligent asset management and system redundancy in a cost-effective way that avoids sacrificing the cost savings and volumes achieved by eliminating the crew. A set of autonomous navy vessel concept support tools, developed by Rolls-Royce, such as energy management, equipment health monitoring and predictive and remote maintenance, will ensure the availability of unmanned vessels.

Many of the technologies needed to make autonomous navy vessel concept ships a reality already exist. Rolls-Royce has created what it believes.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Top 4 mobile apps for your business

mobile
Mobile technology has taken a big leap in recent past and thanks to this, business userscaneasily carry out remote working. We have now seen that several businesses are depending on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets that assist them in handling their business. Depending on a PC for your work is no longer the need because individuals now performtheir entire task from apps on their iPhone, iPad or Android. Mobile apps, in particular, tend to alter the way one plans to complete his work. Once an appropriate mobile app is downloaded, it is inclined to fit your business needs, and one has the advantage of improving productivity of their business. The benefits of apps for one’s business are many. It helps in:
  • Building and cultivating customer reliability - Mobile appsenable businessesto have a direct and quick link with customers developing an association between them. Some businesses offer a reward systemwhichmotivates their customers tokeep coming back in order to get more gratification.
  • Reinforce Brand –Mobile app for a business brings with it a degree of loyalty and keeps reinforcing the brand with their notifications.This is fairly important wherein consumers in need of a product or service will prefer the ones with mobile apps.
  • Increase visibility and accessibility – There is a fair bit of increased visibility which can be achieved by providing promotions and discounts in the app and keep the customer involved. With access to mobile devices, the user can quickly go through the offering and may not require a computer due to the convenience of a smartphone. 


The following could be some useful apps for business:


1. NetSuite One World

NetSuite OneWorld -Netsuite offers an app for both large and small business,which is aaccessible system known as enterprise resource planning – ERP. With the use of a mobile app, one has the advantage of handling expense reports, business dashboards, security records, purchase orders, etc. This could be a one-stop shop in handling your business while you are away from your desktop.

2. Expensify

ExpensifyFree– It is said to be one of the best expense report software for a mobile device. It enables the user to upload receipts through its iOS as well as Androidapps, where both seem to use OCR SmartScan. Expensify known as the best tool reviewed tends to precisely process scanned data that saves the employees as well as administrators of time previously spent in recording as well as the dispensationof expenses.

3. ClickMeeting

ClickMeeting - A video conference can be done by anyone from their phone though onlya few services tend to provide the enhanced functionality that ClickMeeting tends to offer. Android, Apple and BlackBerry apps of ClickMeeting enables the user to schedule meetings, stream audio as well as video, record events and share your screen, all of these, from a smartphone.

4. Citrix ShareFile Business

Citrix ShareFile Business - Several of the best file transfer services have not been successful in sending large files from computer to computer. Citrix ShareFile Businessat Citrix tends to provide the facility of sharing from Android, BlackBerry, Windows and iOS mobile devices. Moreover, for the purpose of administration, it also provides outstanding device management functionality, assisting IT in disabling and wiping devices whenever the need arises.

These apps can be a boon for a business consumer as it simplifies the day-to-day activities attached to business. As you must have seen, there are a lot of websites which help you in comparing smartphones and hence saves your time; similarly, these apps help you manage your work, increase productivity and save your precious time as well.

Google X and the Science of Radical Creativity

Google X

Google X is empowering invention with bust of radical creativity

 

Google parent company Alphabet has a very special wing which is working on developing highly influential and quite unbelievable technology, product or service for all. This special wing is called Google X wing which brings together highly powerful minds in varied fields that have a common shared goal of developing solutions to the crucial problems plaguing modern society. In simple words this wing is a kind of Moonshot Factory whose solutions are nothing less than the science fiction.
 

What makes Google X so different from others?

 
Google X will comes as simply one such company where members are encourages to perform regular investigation in the absurd ideas which are permitted anywhere in the world. In this case ‘absurd ideas’ are limited to the science fiction and their task is to investigate whether it is possible to implement in modern day and how feasible will it be. Over the this wing has quietly investigation space elevators and cold fusion which are remarkable absurd ideas in reality but so much in the field of science fiction.

This Moonshot factory has tried and even abandoned wide range of projects over the years which ranges from the developing hoverboards with magnetic levitation technology to extremely cheap fuel from the sea weed. It has met with varied degree of success in different projects and one of its most notable and widely reported projects is self-driving cars. Apart from it it had made drones which can deliver aerodynamic packages and even designed such contact lenses which can measure glucose level from the diabetic person’s tears.
 

Google X is the need of the hour

 
The ideas followed or made into by Google X might appear to be farfetched or too random to show any worth to usual reader. But the engineers and brightest minds at this Moonshot factory adhere to a very simple and potent three part formula. At the very beginning they address a huge problem, secondly they do it by offering a radical solution and thirdly this is achieved by employing a feasible technology.
It is worth noting that Google has created the Google X wing to solve its own problems as there is already massive workforce to deal with it. Rather the Google X division is literary made with the aim of creating such companied which helps in changing the world we live in and become the next age- Google. This wing considers more than 100 such absurd ideas every year which encompasses varied areas like artificial intelligence, clean energy and much more.
 
Innovation powered by secrecy
 
The Google X wing innovation is powered by the highest level of secrecy. Google doesn’t ever share the allotted budget or the number of employees working in the Google X wing even to the investors. Journalists simply has no clue what’s happening behind the closed doors of the Google X wings but it is worth noting that this Moonshot Factory is led by the finest mind in their respective field who knows what they doing or dealing with.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Open Rotor Jet Engine That Could Revolutionize Air Travel

Open Rotor

A new design of with an open rotor jet engine is expected to revolutionize air travel

 
Aerospace will see a new egg shaped jet engine which has the potential to dramatically cut down the fuel consumption and simply change the scenario of modern air travel. This new technology or more importantly the new ‘open rotor’ prototype has been designed by a French engine maker going by the Safran and he is hoping to see them in action by the year 2030. This new technology based engine was developed in association with European Union and it is being tested currently at a French military based present near Marsellie. The Open Rotor engine technology simply bring out the usually hidden whirring part outside in order to capture more air and provide more powerful thrust to the plane.
 

How it works?

 
This new technology based engine design is expected to help in cutting down fuel consumption which will in turn help in reducing the air fares. This engine is designed like an elongated egg having two rows of blades present at the back end. This engine is designed with an aim of burning 15 percent lesser amount of fuel than the current generation of turbofan engines. Even the traditional technology used in the turbofan had improved significantly in the recent past but the prospects & potential of the new egg shaped engine is massive.

This newly engine will be placed right at the back of the airplane rather than being placed right under the wings which has been common place with today’s technology. It will also leave some room for the two rows carbon blades shaped like scimitar which will swirl in the opposite direction.
 

Tinkering with the traditional engine technology & design

 
This isn’t the first that people had decided to tinker with the traditional engine technology and design of our airplanes. In the 1980 a number of US engine makers worked on the unducted fans but this design and technology was dropped as the oil prices steeply declined. During that time airplane engines were considered to be extremely noisy. The current study and change in the popular engine design and technology is powered by the continuous rise in the energy costs and the impositions of different resolution for fewer emissions.

One of the researchers has stated that if we are looking forward to turn this engine into reality by 2030 then the development has begin from today. In case the oil prices ever jumped over $100 then the whole industry will get more interested in such a viable engine technology which reduces the amount of fuel consumption.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Rolls Royce has shown its interest in this new peculiar engine technology. A another question which is being thrown at the developers is how the passengers are going to react to find two find two naked engine right at the back of the airplane. Developers have no answer for it and this technology still has to be certified by the regulator before it debuts on the modern planes.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

What are the Importance of IT Disaster Recovery Plan

No matter what industry you work in, you very likely rely on some form of information technology. When something goes wrong with your IT system, it can bring operations to an immediate stop. The Importance of IT Disaster Recovery for business is most evident after a disaster. Without a plan, a company in any industry risks losing massive amounts of money, taking hits to their reputation, and may even pass these risks onto customers or clients. Waiting until a disaster hits, however, is dangerous and risky. Many people believe that such things can not happen to them, but in reality, they can, and do happen to everybody. Recent storms and cyberattacks should be enough to convince you that you need a disaster recovery plan.

Recent Examples

The climate on this planet is undergoing massive changes. This has led to many costly natural disasters. Hurricane Sandy, for example, did $65 billion worth of damage, and that was, at its height, a Category 2 hurricane. More recent hurricanes, like Harvey and Irma, were significantly stronger and cost even more money. Only 30% of respondents to a survey conducted under the name “2013/2014 Information Governance Benchmarking Survey,” believed that their organization had sufficient systems as it relates to disaster and crisis recovery and management and business continuity. The National Small Business Association conducted a study in which they found that a vast majority (83%) of organizations still had no business continuity plan a year after Hurricane Sandy wreaked its havoc.

Being Prepared

Even if your organization understands the importance of a contingency plan, it can be hard to understand how to start creating one. It is especially difficult for those who have never had to deal with disaster recovery. These people are susceptible to thinking that they will never need to utilize such a plan. They may also simply have no idea exactly what to prepare for. Either way, having a plan is essential for all organizations, as it is guaranteed to save costs in the long run.

If no one in your organization has any experience with planning for disaster recovery, it is important to consult with someone who has. There are so many things that need to be considered in a contingency plan, and it can be impossible to cover all of the bases without any experience in doing so. Many people also have difficulty recognizing the difference when it comes to disaster recovery vs. business continuity. While a business continuity plan is often used in conjunction with a disaster recovery plan, they are separate plans. The business continuity plan should indicate how business will continue after a disaster. The disaster recovery plan deals specifically with IT.

Once there is a well thought out plan in place, and any previous gaps in the plan have been fixed, any organization will be able to recover from a disaster quickly and efficiently. This helps prevent financial loss and loss of reputation. It can also help reduce the risk of damage to equipment during a disaster, and protect the privacy of client records.

World’s Longest Running Synchrotron Light Experiment Reveals Long Term Behaviour Of Nuclear Waste Materials

Nuclear waste experiment
Longest ongoing synchrotron light experiment in the World unveils behaviour of nuclear waste materials that are long term

University of Sheffield researchers, in collaboration with the Diamond Light Source, are the forerunners in studying and understanding gradual transformations in nuclear waste materials. Their experiment just reached a major milestone of 1000 days which makes it the world’s longest running synchrotron light experiment.

Led by Dr Claire Corkhill from the University’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, the research has utilised the world’s best facilities at the Diamond Light Source to study the long-term behaviour of cement materials used in nuclear waste disposal through the synchrotron experiment.

Dr Corkhill explained that these cements are used to securely lock away the radioactive elements present in nuclear waste for a time period of more than about 10,000 years, hence it is vital that the properties of these materials are accurately predicted in the future. She also added that the exclusive provision at Diamond has enabled them to follow this reaction in situ, for a period of 1000 days and the data received from this study is already helping them recognize exact phases that will securely and safely lock away radioactive elements in a time span of 1000 years’ which is something they would not have been able to determine otherwise.

Dr Corkhill also stated that she has definite plans to return to Diamond Light Source to investigate and observe the reaction of these particular phases with uranium, plutonium and technetium on a single beamline of the X-ray absorption spectroscopy.


The Director of the Immobilisation Science Laboratory and co-investigator of this particular research, Professor Neil Hyatt, said that they all are very enthusiastic to be chosen to partake in this synchrotron experiment as the first ever consumers, in this world’s best facility and capability and are grateful to the people at the Diamond Light Source, Dr Chiu Tang, Dr Sarah Day and Dr Claire Murray from I11 in particular, for all the support they provided in helping all their experiments seeing the light of day and for being the perfect curators of their samples for a period of 1000 days. He added that they were very pleased that this 1000 day milestone established firmly their long-term association between the University of Sheffield and the scientists present at the Diamond Light Source.

Dr Corkhill is, at present, keeping an eye on the alterations in eight nuclear waste cement materials by determining the high resolution diffraction patterns at Diamond Light Source on the I11-1 beamline. Diamond Light Source happens to be UK’s national synchrotron science facility which was financed as a joint venture by the UK Government with the help of the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust. Dr Corkhill’s results and findings are currently being utilised to provide support to the ongoing safety case development meant for the UK Government policy to get rid of nuclear waste in a disposal facility that is geologically deep.
Scientists at Diamond plan to construct five more beamlines for these synchrotron experiments by 2020. But for now, there are no plans to put a stop to this experiment and it will in all probability continue to break records until the materials don’t change anymore or the space is required by another space.

The Most Secure Way To Unlock Your Phone, Revealed

pattern lock
Unlock Devices – Shoulder Surfing Attacks
 
Researchers have warned that users should stop utilising patterns to unlock their devices. According to latest study it has been observed that it seems much easier for people to glance over your shoulder while the user unlock his phone and memorise a pattern than a passcode.

According to the researchers, the so-called `shoulder surfing attacks’ could be cool for a criminal to intend and execute, though the user can protect themselves by turning to a PIN code and on increasing its length from four digits to six. They acquired more than 1,000 volunteers to pose as attackers, challenging them to memorise a range to unlock authentications of four and six digit PINs and four-and six-length patterns with and without tracing lines, by observing a victim over their shoulder from a variety of angles.

The two handsets utilised in the study were the 5-inch Nexus 5 and 6-inch OnePlus One which according to the researchers were identical to a wide variety of displays and form factors available in the present market for Android as well as iPhone. Moreover the researchers also measured single and various views for the attacker with two different hand positions for the victim for single-handed thumb input as well as two-handed index-finger input.
 
PINs – Most Secure
 
They observed from the research that four-length patterns having visible lines had been quite easy to unlock owing to shoulder surfing than any other means to unlock authentication that was tested. Researchers from United States Naval Academy and the University of Maryland commented that they observed that PINs were the most secure to shoulder surfing attacks and though both types of pattern input were poor, patterns without lines provided greater security.

Moreover the length of the input also tends to have an impact and longer authentication seemed more secure to shoulder surging. In addition, if the attacker tends to have multiple-views of the authentication, then the performance of the attacker is greatly improved. During the experiments about 10.8% of six-digit PINs were successful to unlock after a single observation and this figure increased to 26.5% after two observations. Around 62.5% of six-length patterns having tracing lines on the other hand could unlock after a single observation which increased to 79.9% after two observations.
 
Shorter Patterns More Susceptible
 
About 35.3% of six-length patterns devoid of tracing lines could unlock after a single viewing which rose to 52.1% after two observations. The researchers stated that shorter patterns had been even more susceptible, adding that even individuals using fingerprint or face-scanning technology for the purpose to unlock their phones need to be wary of their discoveries.

They further stated that biometrics seems to be a promising advancement in mobile authentication, though they can be considers a reaauthenticator or a secondary-authentication device since individual tend to need to have a PIN or pattern which they could enter somewhat often owing to environmental impacts for instance, wet hands.

There are also instances of high false negatives rates linked with biometrics. Besides this user with biometrics tend to opt for weaker PINs in comparison to those without, signifying that the classical unlock authentication tends to be an important attack course going forward. From a separate research published earlier in the year, it was observed that most of the security device patterns can unlock within a span of five attempts.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Ask More Of Your Phone: Google Pixel 2

Google is all set to launch the next iteration of its flagship Pixel 2 smartphones this week. Tech enthusiasts and industry experts are holding the opinion that Google next offering will have enough features packed into it to win over the Apple’s iPhone 8. Here are some of the predictable features which are expected to be seen in the Pixel 2 to win over its competition and other gadgets are as follows:

Wide Angle Lens - It is worth noting that Google Pixel XL simply became world’s best camera on a smartphone last year. However it didn’t had the wide angle lens that time around, so it is being expected that Google will opt for some good wide-angle lens for its Pixel 2 devices. Secondly Pixel devices didn’t even have the ISO and shutter speed control which were sorely missed by the users.
Headphone jack – It is highly expected Google will finally give in the way just like Apple and it will get rid of lovely 3.5 mm headphone jack in order to make its device more slim. Almost every major flagship device is following the single-port ethos nowadays wherein users had make use of adapters in order to charge and listen to music on the go. Bluetooth headphones are the option but nobody likes them as much as manufacturers like them.

BoomSound – Just a few weeks ago Google acquired a massive part of HTC which has been critical in the development of the Google devices in the past. It is expected that new Pixel 2 devices will feature the BoomSound which has been developed by HTC and happens to offer incredible audio output from the external speakers. In simple words Pixel 2 devices will offer simply the best speaker audio rendition through the use of BoomSound technology in the upcoming Pixel 2 smartphones.

No Limit on GDrive Storage – Google won over the smartphone customers by offering one of a kind ‘Unlimited’ GDrive storage for pictures and videos on the Pixel devices. When most of the OEM and cloud storage providers are happily charging certain amount for extra cloud storage Google has simply done away with it. Better phones simply translate larger audio and video files which ultimately require larger storage. Some experts believe that Google will take everyone by surprise this year as well by offering unlimited GDrive storage to the Pixel 2 and Chromebook owners.

A flexible device – Google has taunted the users with its secretive next generation of the flexible technology. It is will suspected that Google might well go ahead and bring a flexible Pixel 2 device to the world. This would make 2017 best year in the smartphone innovation after years of stagnant development.

All of these features are merely speculation fueled by the recent development made by its rival and most importantly Apple’s iPhone 8. If Google Pixel 2 devices of 2017 do come with these features and or something better than these then it will surely give Apple’s iPhone 8 and other gadgets run for its money.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Biological Clock Discoveries by 3 Americans Earn Nobel Prize

Nobel Prize
The discoverers of the 'internal clock' of the body, Nobel Medicine 2017

The winners are Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael W. Young

US scientists Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young today won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Medicine, "for their discoveries of the molecular mechanisms that control the circadian rhythm," according to the jury of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, responsible for the award. The prize is endowed with nine million Swedish crowns, about 940,000 euros.

Thanks in part to his work, today it is known that living beings carry in their cells an internal clock, synchronized with the 24-hour turns of the planet Earth. Many biological phenomena, such as sleep, occur rhythmically around the same time of day, thanks to this inner clock. Its existence was suggested centuries ago. In 1729, the French astronomer Jean-Jacques d'Ortous de Mairan observed the case of mimosas, plants whose leaves open during the day into the sunlight and close at dusk. The researchers discovered that this cycle was repeated even in a dark room, suggesting the existence of an internal mechanism.

In 1971, Seymour Benzer and his student Ronald Konopka of the California Institute of Technology took a momentous leap in research. They caught vinegar flies and induced mutations in their offspring with chemicals. Some of these new flies had alterations in their normal 24-hour cycle. In some, it was shorter and in others, it was longer, but in all of them, these perturbations were associated with mutations in a single gene. The discovery could have earned the Nobel, but Benzer died in 2007, at age 86, for a stroke. And Konopka died in 2015, at age 68, of a heart attack.

The Nobel, finally, was taken to Hall (New York, 1945), Rosbash (Kansas City, 1944) and Young (Miami, 1949). The three used more flies in 1984 to isolate that gene, baptized "period" and associated to the control of the normal biological rhythm. Subsequently, they revealed that this gene and others self-regulate through their own products - different proteins - generating oscillations of about 24 hours. It was "a change of paradigm", in the words of the Argentine neuroscientist Carlos Ibáñez, of the Karolinska Institute. Each cell had a self-regulating internal clock.

The scientific community has since established the importance of this mechanism in human health. This inner clock is involved in the regulation of sleep, in hormone release, in eating behavior and even in blood pressure and body temperature. If, as occurs in people working in shifts at night, the pace of life does not follow this internal script, can increase the risk of suffering different diseases, such as cancer and some neurodegenerative disorders, says Ibanez. The syndrome of fast time zone change, better known as jet lag, is a clear sign of the importance of this internal clock and its mismatches.

The Karolinska researcher sets an example with a 24-hour cycle, in which the internal clock anticipates and adapts the body's physiology to the different phases of the day. If the day begins with deep sleep and a low body temperature, the release of cortisol at dawn increases blood sugar. The body prepares its energies to face the day. When night falls, with a peak blood pressure, melatonin, a hormone linked to sleep, is secreted.

These inner rhythms are known as circadian by the Latin words circa, around, and dies, day. The scientific community now knows that these "around the clock" molecular dashes emerged very soon in living things and were preserved throughout its evolution. They exist in both single-cell life forms and in multicellular organisms such as fungi, plants, animals, and humans.

At the time of its discovery, Hall and Rosbash were working at Brandeis University in Waltham, and Young was researching at Rockefeller University in New York. Its recognition follows the tonic of the Swedish awards. Men have won 97% of Nobel prizes in science since 1901. In the category of Medicine, statistics improve slightly: 12 of the 214 women are awarded the prize: 5.6%.

Pixel 2, Home Mini and Pixelbook What You Need to Know

Google Home Mini
At an event on October 4, the Silicon Valley firm is all set to expose its latest gadgets comprising of latest phone. However before the event can take place, a consumer publication has got itself a series of images which displays the majority of what Google would probably launch. The following are what can be expected from the Google event together with its fresh line-up of gadgets:
 

Google makes hardware


 
Together with its search ability and drives in AI, Google is said to have moved firmly in the hardware area in the last few years. Moving away from its Nexus phone brand and trying to reinvest its attempts under the moniker of Made by
Google, the company has now released various high end gadgets. These comprises of its Pixel and Pixel XL phones, a mobile virtual reality headset known as Daydream, together with a Google Wi-Fi box and its amazon Echo voice assistant competitor, Google Home. Many have been expecting to see new repetitions of these devices at the forthcoming event of the company.
 

What’s the event holding?

 
The company had called another press conference; precisely a year after Google had released the Pixel, its first own-name branded phone. This would most probably see the overview of its latest hardware attempts though no one could be completely sure till it shows up. The event is said to take place at 9 AM PT in San Francisco and there would also be a press event that would take place at the same time in the UK. This would kick-off at 5PM and would also be live-streamed online
 

What would the latest phones look like?

 
Owing to the outburst of leaks the latest being from DroidLife, it is a known fact that the upcoming gadgets, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL Android devices would have a same form factor to their predecessors. From the leaked images of the two phones, it displays a single camera on the rear, a fingerprint scanner together with colours ranging from light blue to white and black combo. DroidLife reported that the Pixel XL 2 a bigger screened version of the phone would have 64GB or 128GB storage and the price is from $849 to $949. The smaller gadgets Pixel is said to have the identical storage choice and is priced at $649 and $749. With regards to specs, the reported details are scarce on the ground presently. The Verge had reported that the XL would be having a 6-inch OLED screen, a Snapdragon 835 process with the potential of controlling the phone by squeezing it which had been introduced in the HTC U11. The company had spoken a lot about the Google Lens, a feature enabling a phone camera to comprehend what it tends to see, at the developers conference earlier in the year. It is also expected that the Pixel 2 XL would be having a much less of a bezel than the smaller product devices.
 

Google Home – Mushroom-Like Speaker

 
Google seems to be established in introducing smaller gadgets version of the Google Home if one is into voice assistants. Details of the Home Mini was made available by source, which is a mushroom-like speaker that tends to sit in one’s home , pay attention and chat with you. Similarly, Amazon provides a low-priced Echo Dot which tends to rival with Google. The price of the Home Mine is said to be around $49, with shades of silver, orange and dark grey featuring the Google Assistant. The company had mentioned that it is an AI company instead of a search giant and it would not be surprising for Google to disclose more update regarding its Assistant. The company desires its voice assistant to be implanted in several third-party gadgets as imaginable. It has reported that VR viewer DayDream of Google would be provided with an update and would be offered in various colours. Further details with regards to the interior of the device is not clear though it would remain to be a mobile VR viewer housing a phone and it would come at a price of $99.
 

Chromebook Pixel - PixelBook

 
According to some sources as informed to Android Police the re-born Chromebook Pixel gadgets will show up soon. A Pixel Chromebook would be launched according to Android Police had been confirmed in the latest series of report. The device has been dubbed the PixelBook and is said that the same would comprise of 128GB, 256GB and 512GB of storage and priced at £1,119. The original Chromebook Pixel had been released by Google in 2013 and had been revitalized in 2015 and has not launched a newer version since then. For several years, third-party vendors like HP and Acer have been proposing some cool Chromebooks. At this point of time not much is revealed. Android Police wonders that it could be born out of the Project Bison of the company that had been planned to be presented during the third quarter this year. We need to wait and watch for the forthcoming event of October 4 for the surprises in store by Google.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Amazon Revamps Echo Smart Speaker Family

Amazon

Echo Smart Speaker – Improved Sound & Voice Recognition

 
New forms of its Echo smart speaker with the possibility of improved sound and voice recognition has been announced by Amazon. Moreover, the simple model also enables in changing its shell and provides it with different looks which is a feature offered already by the opponent Home gadget of Google. A bigger Echo Plus enhanced by a `home hub’ enables it in controlling smart light bulbs together with third party products minus a separate data-linking gadget.

 The Echo Spot tends to have a screen which makes the video calls as wells camera feed promising. Sales figures for the earlier Echo line-up had not been released by Amazon, however researchers have recommended it. Its smaller sibling, the Echo Dot has been the best-selling device.

The Echo family is said to account for around 75% of the US market with regards to internet-linked speakers together with built-in smart assistant functionality that has been estimated earlier this month by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. Till date it has been suggested that around 15 million devices have been sold. The latest Echo smart speaker is said to be smaller than its predecessor and has the advantage from a keen bass tweeter.
 

Six Swappable Shells/Various Materials

 
The Echo smart speaker comes with the option of six swappable shells with various materials and gadget is priced at £90/$100/100 euros which it around 40% cheaper than the earlier version and challenging the £129 Google Home gadget. The Echo Plus compatible with the Zigbee smart home protocol is priced at £140/$150/150 euros while the Echo Spot having a screen size of 2.5-inch together with a built-in camera is priced at $130.

The same will be launched in December in the US though has not provided a release date elsewhere. Blake Kozak from the HIS Technology consultancy had commented that Amazon has been the first agent in this market and hence had the benefit over some of those who had entered the same space. He further added that it was incredibly important for them to do a refresh, wherein the original Echo came out in 2014 and the hardware had not been updated ever since, though the software as well as the back-end services had been enhanced incessantly.

Most of the latest systems tend to feature Alexa assistant of Amazon and would not be seen as a risk. Thereafter several more premium systems had been announced with higher quality speakers and hence Amazon needed to be seen to contest the competition. This brought in the Echo smart speaker in the market.
 

Competing Schemes

 
Earlier, Amazon had mentioned that it tends to sell its Echo smart speaker approximately for the price it cost in producing the gadget and since its final objective is to utilise Alexa as a means of driving sales of the other goods and services. However, earlier this month, at the Berlin’s Ifa tech show, many big name manufactures comprising of Sony JBL and Panasonic had launched systems powered by the rival Assistant of Google. Additional competing schemes that are anticipated before the end of the year comprise of-
  • Siri powered HomePod speaker system of Apple
  • Invoke of Harmon/Kardon that will utilise Cortana technology of Microsoft
  • Novel speaker from Sonos which would be supporting multiple smart assistants
  • The likelihood of a new version of the Google Home when search firm tends to host an event on 4 October.

 

Link to Landline – Speakers into Speakerphones

 
Besides the Echo smart speaker, Amazon has also made an announcement of the gadget, Echo Buttons – small Bluetooth based buzzers, at its Seattle event which could be utilised for playing games on its speakers, inclusive of an upcoming version of Trivial Pursuit. Moreover it has also publicized the Echo Connect which is a gadget that tends to link to a landline turning its speakers into speakerphones. It has also announced an arrangement of bringing Alexa to some of the BMW’S cars inclusive of its Mini brand.

Geoff Blaber from the tech consultancy CCS Insight had stated that Amazon tends to have the momentum in the smart speaker and voice assistant area. This announcement had been developed to deepen its role in daily lives and this tends to raise the bar considerably for Apple and Google.

Amazon seems to be functioning exceptionally hard in exploiting on the success of its smart assistant hardware and that he is concerned this new line-up seems to be complex and the most knowledgeable consumers would be perplexed as to what feature they would be expecting for their money. The option is said to be immense with Echo, Echo Plus, Dot, Look, Spot, Fire TV, Fire TV Stick together with the Dash Wand. With the Echo smart speaker, Amazon has the opportunity to do for home automation what Apple had done for smartphones.

It was essential for the company to announce a smartphone which would be an enhanced gadget than the upcoming iPhone X and now a home assistant set-up which is tougher than what had been portrayed by Amazon

Sunday, 1 October 2017

TU Delft Researcher Makes Alcohol Out Of Thin Air

Method of Producing Alcohol from Thin Air

Ming Ma, a TU Delft PhD student of Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands, haslocated a method of producing alcohol from thin air.. He has found out a way of efficiently and accurately controlling the process of electro-reduction of CO2 in producing a wide range of useful products comprising of alcohol.

 With the possibility of utilising CO2as a means of resource in this manner could be just essential in dealing with climate change. His PhD defence took place on September 14th. For the purpose of modifying atmospheric CO2 concentration, carbon capture together with utilization CCU can be a practicable alternative strategy to carbon capture and sequestrations –CCS.

The electrochemical reduction of CO2 to fuels together with value-added chemicals has drawn significant attention as a capable solution. In this course of development, the captured CO2 is utilised as a means of resource and transformed to carbon monoxide – CO, methane – CH4, ethylene and also liquid products like formic acid –HCOOH, methanol – CH3OH and ethanol C2 H5OH. The great energy density hydrocarbons tend to be utilised directly and conveniently as fuels in the existing energy infrastructure.

Feedstock in Fischer-Tropsch

Besides the production of CO2 seems to be interesting as it could be utilised as feedstock in the process of Fischer-Tropsch, which is a strong technology used extensively in industry in the conversion of syngas CO and hydrogen H2 into useful chemicals like methanol and synthetic fuels like diesel fuel.

Ming Ma, in his PhD theory, while working in the group of Dr Wilson A. Smith had defined that the processes that seemed to occur at the nanoscale when various metals were utilised in the electro-reduction of CO2. For instance, while utilising copper nanowires in the electro-reduction procedure would lead to production of hydrocarbons though nanoporous silver could develop CO.

Moreover, as per the discovery of Ma, the process could be quite accurately regulated by altering the lengths of the nanowires as well as the potential of the electrical. On modifying these conditions one is capable of generating any carbon based production or alternatively combinations in any desired ratio, thereby producing the resources for the three follow up processes mentioned above. On utilising metal alloys in the procedure, would lead to more stimulating results.

Formic Acid – Favourable usage in Fuel Cells

Though platinum tends to produce hydrogen on its own, and gold tends to generate CO, an alloy of these two metals tend to unexpectedly produce formic acid – HCOOH, in relatedly huge quantities where formic acid is said to have the possibilities of a very favourable usage in fuel cells. After this, the next step for the team at the Smith Lab for solar Energy Conversion and Storage at TU Delft is to look for means of enhancing the selectivity of individual products as well to start the designing of scaling up the procedure.

Smith had received an ERC Starting Grant to work on that to improve the understanding of the complicated reaction mechanism to obtain an improved control of the CO2electro catalytic process. The other task in the lab is directed on solar driven splitting of water wherein the simple solution tends to make hydrogen production from solar water splitting more efficient and cheaper. With cheap efficient and stable photo electrode would help in improving water splitting with solar energy.

New Machine Learning Algorithms of Google and MIT Retouch Your Photos Before You Take Them

Google Pixel

New machine learning algorithms by Google and MIT retouch your photos before being captured


It is getting tougher and tougher, as time goes by, to extract more and better performance out of your phone’s camera hardware. That is the reason why companies like Google are adopting the method of computational photography: using machine learning algorithm to improvise the output. The most recent exploration from the search giant, conducted along with scientists from MIT, progresses this work to a new level, creating machine learning algorithm that are able to retouch your pictures just like a professional photographer in reality, prior to capturing them.

The researchers utilised machine learning algorithm to build their software, instructing neural networks on a dataset of 5,000 images that are produced by Adobe and MIT. Every image in this compilation has been worked upon and improved by five various photographers and Google and MIT’s algorithms made use of this data to understand what kind of improvements are to be made to different photos. This might involve increasing the brightness at certain places, reducing the saturation elsewhere and so on.

Machine learning algorithm has been used before to improve photos, but the real progress with this particular research is concision of the algorithm so that they are compact and resourceful enough to efficiently and seamlessly run on any user’s device. The software itself if as big as a single digital image and as a blog post from MIT describes, it could be very well capable to “development images in a assortment of styles.”

This proves that in order to train the neural networks, new sets of images can be used and could also be able to replicate a particular photographer’s specific look. In similar way, companies like Facebook and Prisma have produced artistic filters that imitate the style of famous painters. Although smartphones and cameras are already processing the imaging data in real time, these recent techniques are more subtle and spontaneous and rather than applying general settings to the whole of the individual image.

For slimming down the machine learning algorithm, the researchers utilised a few varied techniques. These consisted of converting the changes made to every photo into formulae and using co-ordinates that are grid-like to map the pictures out. All of this means that the data about how the photos can be retouched can be mathematically expressed, instead of full-scale photos.

Google researcher Jon Barron told MIT that this technology has the probability to be very valuable for real-time image enrichment on a mobile phone. He added that utilising this machine learning algorithm for computational photography has an interesting outlook but it is retrained because of the severe constraints in computation and power of mobile phones. This paper may offer a way to avoid these hindrances and create new, interesting, real-time photographic memories without getting the battery drained or giving a slow viewfinder experience.

It’s not unlikely that this machine learning algorithm will be seen in one of Google’s future Pixel phones. Earlier, the company used its HDR+ algorithms to show more detail in terms of light and shadow on mobile phones right since the time the Nexus 6. And Google’s computational photography lead, Marc Levoy, told The Verge last year that they are “only just begun to scratch the surface” with their work.

How to Create Seamless SEO on Your New Business Blog

It's not easy to make a website that is search engine optimized and also has a great looking design. Many site owners tend to make compromises to the design of their site since getting traffic is more important in the big picture. The truth is that you can do both. You can create a seamless look for your site or blog while still optimizing it for the search engines. Here are some great tips for accomplishing this.

Use CSS to Manipulate Your Text

Trying to use SEO tags like the header tags can really hurt the look of your site. The h1 and h2 tags will display a text size that will make your headers and subheads look misplaced. Fortunately, this can be resolved with the use of CSS. By defining the font, style, size, color and other elements in your CSS file for your header tags, your text will use the settings of the CSS file. This can be done for other parts of your page like your sidebars, navigation menu and footers.

Plan Out the Structure Before You Build Your Site

It's important that you group together related pages under the right categories to create themes for your site. That helps the search engines determine what your pages are about. Unfortunately, many people make a website without planning out its structure. Start by using the Google Keyword Planner to research keywords you're going to be targeting for a few days. Then, think about what kind of content that you're going to create around those keywords and establish categories for these pages. Not going through this process can make it difficult to organize your site later on.

Put Effort into Designing Your Content

Designing your content is a concept that most people are not familiar with. There are many things that you can do to enhance the look of search engine optimized content. Start by using stylish web fonts to add a unique look to your content. Text created through graphic design usually looks better than standard text. But using a web font from a database like Google Fonts can really amp up the look of regular text. Then you want to create a visual hierarchy for your content so that it's easy to follow while still being SEO friendly. Add visual cues, engaging formatting, supplementary images and varying text to keep the user engaged.

Use the Related and Popular Post Widgets

When you create a new page of content, you want it to be indexed in the search engines as soon as possible. This can take some time if your pages are buried deep in your website. To get past this issue, you can simply use plugins to set up content widgets. These widgets can display related and popular posts throughout your site, allowing the search engine spiders to find all your pages. You will also want to use breadcrumb links to link your pages together. These links have an added bonus of being user friendly as well.

Put Emphasis on Mobile Friendly Design

Being mobile friendly is important to ranking well in Google. The easiest way to seamlessly make your site or blog mobile friendly is to use responsive design. There are many themes and templates that are responsive, so it's easy to get up and running. However, there are many little things that you'll need to do like rearranging your navigation menu, compressing image and making web buttons easy to click on small screens. These things may not necessarily affect search engine rankings but it affects whether or not the user stays on your site.

Optimize for Faster Site Loading Times

Did you know that the loading speed of your site is a ranking factor? While you may want to use high quality images and large multimedia files, you want to keep it to a minimum and leave it to users to decide if they want to load up these large files. There are many things that you can do from optimizing image sizes, enabling site compression, setting up a cloud network, to using browser caching. There are also tricks you can use like loading certain elements of your website first. Fast loading speeds also enhances the user experience which is an important part of web design.

Use the Right Plugins to Assess Your On-page Optimization

It can be difficult to ensure that your pages has the proper on-page optimization in place. There are many plugins that can make your job easier. Yoast SEO is the most recognized plugin. It will look at everything including your title, image alt tags, header tags and keyword density. It also lets you control your robots.txt file, create sitemaps, optimize your RSS feed for your blog, integrate social share buttons, and more. There are also plugins that will help you create content easier and integrate related keywords so that your content can perform better in the search engines.

See How the Search Engines View Your Site

At the end of the day, you may be satisfied with how your website or blog looks to your visitors. But are you aware of how the search engines view your site? You can use Browseo to see if your website is thin on content, presents the wrong elements first or is riddled with errors. For example, many site owners find that their top navigation menu or footer is read first by the search engines. In this case, they'd have to go back to change up their CSS and make sure their main content is being read first by the search engines.

As you can see, creating a great looking site that seamlessly is search engine optimized is not complex. The fundamentals really come down to site speed, proper CSS usage, planned site structure and a mobile friendly site. At the same time, you may need the help of an experienced designer that knows how to design for SEO when you're creating the CSS files. The thing to take away here is that you don't have to make big compromises to the look of your site to make it search engine friendly.