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Mar 11, 2019

Researchers turn liquid metal into a plasma

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, particle physics, security

Scientists at the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics have achieved a plasma research first. They were able to convert the liquid metal deuterium to the plasma state and directly observe the interaction threshold.


For the first time, researchers at the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) have found a way to turn a liquid metal into a plasma and to observe the temperature where a liquid under high-density conditions crosses over to a plasma state. Their observations, published in Physical Review Letters, have implications for better understanding stars and planets and could aid in the realization of controlled nuclear fusion — a promising alternative energy source whose realization has eluded scientists for decades. The research is supported by the US Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration.

What is a Plasma?

Plasmas consist of a hot soup of free moving electrons and ions — atoms that have lost their electrons — that easily conducts electricity. Although plasmas are not common naturally on Earth, they comprise most of the matter in the observable universe, such as the surface of the sun. Scientists are able to generate artificial plasmas here on Earth, typically by heating a gas to thousands of degrees Fahrenheit, which strips the atoms of their electrons. On a smaller scale, this is the same process that allows plasma TVs and neon signs to “glow”: electricity excites the atoms of a neon gas, causing neon to enter a plasma state and emit photons of light.

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Feb 19, 2019

Once hailed as unhackable, blockchains are now getting hacked

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, security

More and more security holes are appearing in cryptocurrency and smart contract platforms, and some are fundamental to the way they were built.

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Feb 19, 2019

Fungus provides powerful medicine in fighting honey bee viruses

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, health, security

In field trials, colonies fed mycelium extract from amadou and reishi fungi showed a 79-fold reduction in deformed wing virus and a 45,000-fold reduction in Lake Sinai virus compared to control colonies.

Though it’s in the early stages of development, the researchers see great potential in this research.

“Our greatest hope is that these extracts have such an impact on viruses that they may help varroa mites become an annoyance for bees, rather than causing huge devastation,” said Steve Sheppard, a WSU entomology professor and one of the paper’s authors. “We’re excited to see where this research leads us. Time is running out for bee populations and the safety and security of the world’s food supply hinges on our ability to find means to improve pollinator health.”

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Feb 17, 2019

IBM researchers develop a technique to virtually patch vulnerabilities ahead of threat

Posted by in category: security

Researchers at IBM have recently devised a new technique to virtually patch security vulnerabilities before they are found. Their approach, presented at the International Workshop on Information and Operational Technology, co-located with RAID18, leverages testing techniques for supervised learning-based data generation.

“While researching a solution to find security vulnerabilities in popular software, we paused to think about the following problem: We know practically and theoretically that it is impossible to find all vulnerabilities in an application, and the security community is in a constant race to discover those vulnerabilities in the hope of finding them before the bad guys do,” Fady Copty, lead researcher of the study, told TechXplore. “This means enforcing regulations and constantly deploying to systems.”

Deploying a on an application is a tedious and time-consuming task, which entails a series of steps: identifying the vulnerable version of the application, managing this , delivering the , deploying it and then restarting the application. Often, patches are deployed over long periods of time, hence can remain vulnerable for a period after a vulnerability has been discovered. To speed up this process, researchers have recently introduced virtual patches, which are enforced using intrusion detection and prevention systems.

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Feb 9, 2019

Producing biofuels from algae

Posted by in categories: security, sustainability

Microalgae are showing huge potential as a sustainable source of biofuels.

Producing biofuels from renewable sources.

Due to concerns about peak oil, energy security, fuel diversity and sustainability, there is great interest around the world in renewable sources of biofuels.

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Feb 6, 2019

The Race to Develop the World’s Best Quantum Tech

Posted by in categories: economics, quantum physics, security

The United States and China both see quantum technologies as key to national security and economic progress.

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Feb 6, 2019

Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack: A Preventable Homeland Security Catastrophe

Posted by in categories: climatology, computing, government, particle physics, security

A major threat to America has been largely ignored by those who could prevent it. An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack could wreak havoc on the nation’s electronic systems-shutting down power grids, sources, and supply mechanisms. An EMP attack on the United States could irreparably cripple the country. It could simultaneously inflict large-scale damage and critically limit our recovery abilities. Congress and the new Administration must recognize the significance of the EMP threat and take the necessary steps to protect against it.

Systems Gone Haywire

An EMP is a high-intensity burst of electromagnetic energy caused by the rapid acceleration of charged particles. In an attack, these particles interact and send electrical systems into chaos in three ways: First, the electromagnetic shock disrupts electronics, such as sensors, communications systems, protective systems, computers, and other similar devices. The second component has a slightly smaller range and is similar in effect to lightning. Although protective measures have long been established for lightning strikes, the potential for damage to critical infrastructure from this component exists because it rapidly follows and compounds the first component. The final component is slower than the previous two, but has a longer duration. It is a pulse that flows through electricity transmission lines-damaging distribution centers and fusing power lines. The combination of the three components can easily cause irreversible damage to many electronic systems.

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Jan 30, 2019

Microsoft, Google Use Artificial Intelligence to Fight Hackers

Posted by in categories: information science, robotics/AI, security

Last year, Microsoft Corp.’s Azure security team detected suspicious activity in the cloud computing usage of a large retailer: One of the company’s administrators, who usually logs on from New York, was trying to gain entry from Romania. And no, the admin wasn’t on vacation. A hacker had broken in.

Microsoft quickly alerted its customer, and the attack was foiled before the intruder got too far.

Chalk one up to a new generation of artificially intelligent software that adapts to hackers’ constantly evolving tactics. Microsoft, Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Amazon.com Inc. and various startups are moving away from solely using older “rules-based” technology designed to respond to specific kinds of intrusion and deploying machine-learning algorithms that crunch massive amounts of data on logins, behavior and previous attacks to ferret out and stop hackers.

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Jan 26, 2019

​Filipino IT experts hope NASA announces Space Challenge winners as U.S. government operations resume

Posted by in categories: government, law, security, space

This is the first time that an entry from the Philippines has made it to the global finalists. http://verafiles.org/articles/filipino-it-experts-hope-nasa-…lenge-winn #SpaceApps #SpaceAppsPH


Filipino Information Technology enthusiasts are hoping that the temporary reopening of U.S. government operations after a 35-day shutdown would pave the way for the announcement of the winners in the NASA Space Apps Challenge, where one of the finalists is an app developed by a group of Filipino IT experts.

The announcement of the winners in the global competition was supposed to have been made in mid-January but has suffered a delay due to the federal government shutdown caused by a standoff over border security.

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Jan 24, 2019

CRISPR Just Got More Powerful With an “On” Switch

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, security

ProCas9 is an “extra layer of security” that limits CRISPR’s editing skills to only a subset of cells to ensure accurate cutting.

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