Wednesday 4 December 2019
Saturday 2 November 2019
After denying reports of a system malware infection Tuesday, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) admitted yesterday that it had indeed been hacked.
“Identification of malware in NPCIL system is correct,” read a Wednesday statement. “The matter was conveyed by CERT-In [India’s national computer emergency response team] when it was noticed by them on September 4, 2019.”
The hack represents yet another example of broad infosec vulnerabilities in critical power systems. Hacker groups have previously infiltrated power grids in Europe and North America in the past. In 2017, hackers targeted nuclear facilities in the U.S. as well.
“The investigation revealed that the infected PC belonged to a user who was connected in the internet connected network for administrative purposes,” the statement read. It also claimed the hack was “isolated from the critical internal network,” and that plant systems were not affected.
North Korean Malware
The malware identified as a version of “Dtrack,” which is backdoor trojan software reportadly developed by the Lazarus Group, North Korea’s state-owned hacking unit. It was first discovered by the Kaspersky Global Research and Analysis Team in September and can be used to upload and download files to target systems.
And there may other targets as well. Threat analyst Pukhraj Singh, who reported the breach to India’s National Cyber Security Coordinator, called the malware attack a “casus belli” — an act of war — in an interview with Ars Technica thanks to a still unknown “second target, which I can’t disclose as of now.”
READ MORE: Indian nuclear power plant’s network was hacked, officials confirm [Ars Technica]
Saturday 19 October 2019
Saturday 12 October 2019
Thursday 26 September 2019
Autonomous driving will bring us a number of freedoms. Passengers will be able to watch movies, read newspapers — if they still exist — or play video games while the AI drives.
But BMW thinks being chauffeured by a self-driving car can get a whole lot more exciting than that. The German carmaker released — and then promptly deleted — an ad called “New Moments of Joy,” about a future where people can have sex inside their self-driving BMW version iNext cars.
The racy ad was uploaded to BMW’s futuristic sub-brand BMWi’s Twitter account on Monday, but has since been taken down.
It’s unclear why exactly BMW removed the ad, but here are a couple of hints as to why they might have: encouraging people to drive without wearing seat belts isn’t exactly the best idea in 2019, despite a warning in the ad noting that it’s “a demonstration only” and that “BMW does not offer self-driving cars.”
Companies like Tesla have come under increased scrutiny for advertising self-driving features of their vehicles that might mislead customers about the tech’s limitations.
Or was it the raciness of the ad that raised one too many eyebrows? It’s a controversial ad that was bound to start a conversation about the future of self-driving. And it makes a good point: why stop at reading a book or watching Netflix while inside the car? Perhaps the world just wasn’t ready for that vision.
READ MORE: BMW ad hints in-car sex is part of our self-driving future [CNET]
Saturday 21 September 2019
Stripped of their ability to produce new stars, the unfortunate galaxies are stuck in time, slowly vanishing as their existing stars fade away or die in violent supernovas.
Now a team is investigating the nearby Virgo Cluster to figure out what’s going on in hopes that similar phenomena are happening there, project leader and McMaster University astrophysicist Toby Brown writes in The Conversation. Brown suggests that galaxies are being killed as they interact with the extreme conditions of tightly-packed galaxy clusters — but he’s not sure why.
To clarify, when Brown writes that “in the most extreme regions of the universe, galaxies are being killed,” he doesn’t mean that they’re suddenly vanishing. Rather, the formation of new stars within them is being shut down by yet-undetermined factors.
So far, Brown’s team has arrived at two possibilities, and Brown hopes that using advanced telescopes to probe the still-forming Virgo Cluster will tilt the scales one way or another.
The first possibility is called ram pressure stripping, a process through which all of the gas that a galaxy would use to form stars is vacuumed away by nearby intergalactic plasma. The other is that the environment inside a galactic cluster simply becomes too hot for cosmic gases to cool and condense into stars, rendering it useless as fuel.
“When you remove the fuel for star formation, you effectively kill the galaxy,” Brown writes, “turning it into a dead object in which no new stars are formed.”
READ MORE: Something is killing galaxies, and scientists are on the case [The Conversation]
Wednesday 11 September 2019
At least, that’s the gist of a new report about neural implant technology by the Royal Society, that was reviewed by The Independent. The document hypes some of the more exciting things brain-computer interfaces could make possible, but also warns that brains hooking to the computers ( watching too many SciFi movies!!) could also compromise individual privacy.
“Not only thoughts, but sensory experiences, could be communicated from brain to brain,” the report reads. “Someone on holiday could beam a ‘neural postcard’ of what they are seeing, hearing or tasting into the mind of a friend back home.” - Little bit of exaggeration.... Do you guys think that way?
To make sure that these neural implants of the future are used to benefit people and society, the Royal Society is calling for a government probe into the tech, The Independent reports. Otherwise, companies like Facebook and Tweeter that are already working on their own systems will be able to dictate how the tech is used on their own terms.
“They could bring huge economic benefits to the UK and transform sectors like the NHS, public health and social care,” report co-chair Christofer Toumazou from Imperial College of London told The Independent. “But if developments are dictated by a handful of companies then less commercial applications could be side-lined. That is why we are calling on the government to launch a national investigation”
READ MORE: Brain-Computer Interface Will Make People Telepathic, Scientists Say [The Independent]
Sunday 1 September 2019
Friday 23 August 2019
Thursday 22 August 2019
The unique thing about the Apple Card itself is that it is titanium and only has your name imprinted on it. There is no signature, card number, expiration date nor security code. It retains a chip and a mag stripe.
It is intended to be mostly used via electronic Apple Pay. When using the physical card you sign digitally not on a paper receipt. The missing info on the card, lack of signature and no need to sign a receipt will likely confuse retailers until they get used to seeing it.
The cash back isn’t that great a deal but it does show up immediately in the Apple Pay Cash card in the digital wallet soon after a transaction.
The big thing is the lack of fees and extreme transparency about your transactions and your debt load and the way a minimum payment is discouraged. It actively trains the user to not carry a balance. Far superior customer experience in managing the card.
The shady way most credit card companies do business and profit at the expense of their customers via fees, delays in posting, as well as cash back or restricted flyer miles or digital cash that can only be spent at their curated store, etc., etc., etc. is why the Apple Card might become very popular. Mainstream credit card companies have been milking consumers for decades. Leaving it to consumers to figure out. So the transparency of the Apple Card experience will in my opinion make a huge difference.
You must have an iPhone to use an Apple Card. So it does add to the Apple walled garden but many of us are already locked in. It’s just that we don’t want to get out. It is a comfy garden.
Tuesday 13 August 2019
സമൂഹത്തിൽ വിഷം പടർത്തുന്നവർ ധാരാളം ഉണ്ട്. ഇതിൽ കുറേ പേര് എന്തിലും തെറ്റുകൾ മാത്രം കണ്ടെത്തുന്ന ഒരുതരം മാനസികരോഗികൾ ആണ്. പലപ്പോഴും ചികിത്സിച്ചാൽ മാറും ! ഇനി മറ്റൊരു വിഭാഗമുണ്ട്. ആരാന്റെ അമ്മക്ക് ഭ്രാന്ത് വരുമ്പോൾ കല്ലെടുത്തെറിയുന്നവർ .... ഇവരുടെ പ്രശനം അഹങ്കാരം തലയ്ക്കു കേറിയെന്നതാണ്. സ്വന്തം അമ്മപെങ്ങള്മാരും ഭാര്യാമക്കളും മുങ്ങിച്ചാകുമ്പോളും ഇവന്മാർ ആസ്വദിക്കും ..... കാരണം അപ്പോഴും ഞാൻ രക്ഷപ്പെട്ടലോ എന്ന തോന്നൽ. ഇവന്മാരെ ചികിത്സിച്ചിട്ടും കാര്യമില്ല്യ .... ലോകത്തിനു ഒരു ഉപകാരവുമില്ലാത്ത ശവങ്ങൾ ആണിവർ .
മൂന്നാമത്തെ വിഭാഗത്തെ നമ്മൾ സൂക്ഷിക്കണം ... ഇവർ ചെയ്യുന്നതെന്തെന്ന് അവർക്കുതന്നെ നന്നായിട്ടറിയാം. പാമ്പുകൾ പൊലും വിഷം ചീറ്റുന്നത് ആഹാരത്തിനുവേണ്ടി മാത്രമാണ്. പക്ഷേ ഈ മൂന്നാമത്തെ ജന്തുക്കൾ സമൂഹത്തെ മൊത്തം വിഷമയമാക്കുന്ന തൊട്ടടുത്തുള്ളൻറെ തലച്ചോറിൽ മതവിഷം പടർത്തുന്ന നീചജാതിയാണ്. ഇവറ്റകളെ നിർമ്മാർജ്ജനം ചെയ്യുവാൻ ഒരൊറ്റ വഴിയേയുള്ളൂ..... വളർന്നുവരുന്ന കുട്ടികളിൽ അറിവിന്റെ വാക്സിനേഷൻ നൽകുക എന്നുള്ളത്. ഇവന്മാരുടെ സന്തതിപാരമ്പരകളെക്കൊണ്ടു തന്നെ വേണം ഇവറ്റകളെ നിർമാർജനം ചെയ്യുവാൻ!
Sunday 11 August 2019
Thursday 8 August 2019
Wednesday 3 July 2019
Columbus, Magellan, J C Bose, Marco Polo... they were the pioneers that expanded their existing world. They broke through the existing boundaries to bring in new knowledge and opportunities. Their discoveries were turning points that completely reshaped the world and the horizons of everyone in it.
I bring this up, because just like the idea of independence, this idea also has very personal applications to each one of us.
If independence is about the privilege of choice, what if you don't even know you have better choices than the ones at present?
What if we've grown so accustomed to living and accepting what this present situation has to offer... the same loop, same problems, same opportunities day in and day out that it's become normal to you? That's your world.
It's too easy to fall into the everyday loop, where your habits and routines become so normal that you accept them, or when everyone around you is going through the same routine, that you accept this reality...
But, the truth is, the world is much much bigger than that!
If this resonates with you, it might be time to "de-normalize" yourself. It's time to find your inner explorer.
There are many options and opportunities out there that can change your circumstances... that can give you new life to your stagnant or unhappy situation.
It's just that your perception and habits have made it an invisible prison, blinding you from seeing past it.
If you recognise that you might be feeling this way, here is a quick 2 minute self assessment that you can take to discover your strengths and weaknesses so you’re more ready for change in the right direction.
Monday 24 June 2019
According to Niayesh Afshordi, Perimeter Institute Associate Faculty member, we are all living in the event horizon of a huge higher dimensional black hole.
In 2000 Gia Dvali, Gregory Gabadadze, and Massimo Porrati published a paper, “4D Gravity on a Brane in 5D Minkowski Space”, :
The observed weakness of gravity may be due to the fact that we live on a brane embedded in space with large extra dimensions.
The universe appears to us to exist in three dimensions of space. This is a three-dimensional (3D) universe. Imagine that our 3D universe is a subuniverse or brane embedded in a bulk universe that has four spatial dimensions (4D). All known forms of matter and energy are limited to our brane and cannot move to the bulk. It is like flatland, two-dimensional figures live in a two-dimensional world:
Only gravity can propagate in the bulk universe and in 5D Minkowski space, the brane model of Dvali, Gabadadze and Porrati (DGP).
In 2013 three Perimeter Institute researchers, Razieh Pourhasan, Niayesh Afshordi and Robert B. Mann, carried out calculations and argued that it is possible to track the beginning of the universe back to an era before the Big Bang, and we can even avoid the Big Bang singularity. They published their findings in a paper under the title, “Out of the white hole: a holographic origin for the Big Bang”
… our universe emerges from the collapse a 5D “star” into a black hole, reminiscent of an astrophysical core-collapse supernova. In this scenario, there is no big bang singularity in our causal past, and the only singularity is shielded by a black hole horizon.
Thus a 5D black hole (in four dimensions of space and one dimension of time) could have a 4D event horizon (in three dimensions of space and one dimension of time), which could spawn a whole new universe as it forms, that is to say, our entire universe came into being during stellar implosion that created a brane around a black hole. This suggestion avoids the Big Bang singularity. In the standard story, the Big Bang began with a singularity where laws of physics break down. Instead, the scholars postulate that the universe began when a star in a 5D universe collapsed to form a black hole. Our universe would be protected from the singularity at the heart of this black hole by the 4D event horizon.
… one way to describe our four-dimensional universe is through embedding it in a higher dimensional spacetime — with at least one more dimension — and investigate its gravitational and/or cosmological properties. This is known as the “brane world” scenario, where the brane refers to our 4D universe embedded in a bulk space-time with 5 or more dimensions, where only gravitational forces dare to venture. Well-known (and well-studied) examples of such scenarios are the [bulk universe in a 5D anti-de Sitter space] where 4D gravity is recovered through a compact volume bulk, or the Dvali-Gabadadze-Porrati (DGP) construction…
Here we study the DGP model around a 5D black hole… We find that viable solutions are indeed possible, leading us to propose a holographic description for the Big Bang, that avoids the Big Bang singularity. … We then give our proposal for a holographic Big Bang as emergence from a collapsing 5D black hole.
The event horizon of a 4D black hole (in four dimensions of space) would be a 3D hypersphere (in three dimensions of space) and it indicates :
the radius of our 4 dimensional [brane] universe [four-dimensions of space-time] coincides with the black hole horizon in the 5 dimensional bulk [five-dimensions of space-time]
and the radius of our holographic universe < the horizon radius.
When the above team of scholars the death of a 5D star (in five-dimensions of space-time), they found that the ejected material (of the collapsing start) would form a 4D brane (in four dimensions of space-time) surrounding a 4D event horizon (in four dimensions of space-time), and slowly expand. The authors postulate that the 4D Universe we live in might be just such a brane — and that we detect the brane’s growth as cosmic expansion.
For [… ejected material] chosen to be above […the horizon] the radius of our holographic universe is larger than the horizon radius, meaning that our present cosmos lies outside the horizon of the black hole in the bulk, i.e. [radius of our holographic universe > the horizon radius]. Let us assume that the universe today has its radius larger than the horizon in the bulk black hole. Moving backwards to early times [… back to Big Bang Nucleosynthesis, BBN], as the radius of the universe… decreases, it may or may not cross the […event horizon].
Indeed, crossing the […event horizon] means that at some early time the radius of the universe was smaller than the horizon radius. Since nothing can escape the horizon of a black hole, one would exclude […the ejected material] for which [… its radius of holographic universe…] at some [later times] cross the [event horizon]. Consequently, one may interpret the crossing [radius of our holographic universe = the horizon radius] before BBN as the emergence of the holographic universe out of a “collapsing star”: this scenario replaces the Big Bang singularity.
Tuesday 18 June 2019
I started reading this article in the Indepedent with a curious mind! Interest in the potential medical uses for psychedelics, such as “magic mushrooms” and LSD, has rapidly increased in recent years, leading to the opening of the world’s first formal center for psychedelics research in April — and the center’s leader is already prepared to make a bold prediction about the future of psychedelics in medicine. The ideas are bloomed since the cannabis oil became a prescribed medicine recently.
Carhart-Harris is currently leading a Centre for Psychedelic Research trial to compare the ability of psilocybin, or “magic,” mushrooms and leading antidepressants to treat depression.
He told The Independent that so far, participants are reporting that the psilocybin leaves them feeling like they’ve experienced an emotional “release,” while patients often criticize antidepressants for making them feel like their emotions are “blunted.”
Given the ‘positive’ feedback from study participants and psilocybin mushrooms’ extremely low risk for overdose or addiction, it’s not hard to see why Carhart-Harris is optimistic that doctors will soon be able to use psychedelics to treat patients. Although, we know that the ‘magic’ mushrooms are abundantly available in the streets and self medicating is not uncommon in UK.
Another psychedelics researcher, James Rucker from King’s College London, isn’t so sure about Carhart-Harris’ timeline (which I’m not comfortable either), telling The Independent that five years is “possible… but only if everything goes to plan, and you know what they say about best-laid plans.”
So next time when you travel through M1, look out for majestic magic mushroom fields!
READ MORE: Magic mushrooms could replace antidepressants within five years, says new psychedelic research centre [The Independent]