By now, most people feel comfortable conducting online financial transactions on the Web. The cryptographic schemes that protect online banking and credit card purchases have proven their reliability over decades. But right now, there is no effective way to prevent misuse of your data by the people authorized to access it, say for example a bank employee can still access your data, and frequently we are reading news about misuse of the data by the bank employees. i-e Once you share your data with the bank, Healthcare system or any other private company, for your online transactions, you don't have any control over who exactly is using or misusing your data.http://news.mit.edu/2014/whos-using-your-data-httpa-0613
Traditional industrial robots are rigid as well as fast, precise, and powerful. Their speed and accuracy come at the cost of complexity and can often pose a danger to humans who get too close. Soft robots are adaptable and resilient but slow, difficult to fabricate, and challenging to make autonomous because most motors, pumps, batteries, sensors, and microcontrollers are rigid. But what if you could combine the autonomy and speed of a rigid robot with the adaptability and resiliency of a soft robot, and do so relatively cheaply and quickly?http://wyss.harvard.edu/viewpressrelease/207/a-jump-for-softbodied-robots
Researchers at Harvard university had demonstrated a self-organizing swarm which was formed by one thousand little robots known as "Kilobots". The robots begin to blink at one another and then gradually arrange themselves into a five-pointed star, once after a computer scientist gave a command for forming a sea Star shape to 1,024 little bots simultaneously via an infrared light. Just as single cells can assemble into complex multicellular organisms, the individual Kilobots can follow simple rules to autonomously assemble into predetermined shapes. http://www.eecs.harvard.edu/ssr/projects/progSA/kilobot.html
The U.S Space Company SpaceX has successfully landed the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket at a landing pad in Cape Canaveral, Florida after launching 11 satellites into orbit.
It is historically very important achievement.
It is the first time spaceX has been able to gently touch down the Falcon 9 post-launch. It is a big first step toward reusable rocket.
First stage of falcon 9 is 14-story tall. http://www.theverge.com/2015/12/21/10640306/spacex-elon-musk-rocket-landing-success
On the top floor of an old brick building in the heart of Berlin, a group of journalists and tech enthusiasts are working to spur the Syrian media revolution. Their weapon is an unassuming black case the size of a shoebox that allows opposition radio stations in Syria to transmit inside hostile territory. Dubbed PocketFM, the device is basically a low-powered radio transmitter. Coupled with a satellite dish to receive new programs, a car battery for power and a one-meter (three-foot) antenna, it can broadcast FM radio within a 5-kilometer (3-mile) radius. That's enough to cover a town or a city district, said Philipp Hochleichter, who oversees development of the device for the Berlin-based nonprofit organization Media in Cooperation and Transition.
The group has been training journalists in conflict zones for more than a decade and often relies on FM radio to reach populations in far-flung areas that don't have access to the Internet or smartphones. But when the group realized that shifting front lines and the brutal treatment of journalists meant operating large broadcast antennae could become too cumbersome or risky, it developed PocketFM. It's now being used to covertly broadcast in nine locations, including two that are controlled by the Islamic State group, said Hochleichter. Connected to a solar panel, a PocketFM transmitter can theoretically work autonomously for long periods of time. http://www.voanews.com/content/berlin-group-makes-tiny-transmitters-for-syria/3113277.html
"Digital analyzer. IMSI catcher. Stingray. Triggerfish. Dirt box. Cell-site simulator. The list of aliases used by the devices that masquerade as a cell phone tower, trick your phone into connecting with them, and suck up your data, seems to grow every day. But no matter what name cell-site simulators go by, whether they are in the hands of the government or malicious thieves, there's no question that they're a serious threat to privacy." (By Nadia Kayyali - remainder of article @ )
That's why EFF is launching the cell-site simulator section of Street Level Surveillance today. "EFF's Street Level Surveillance Project unites our past and future work on domestic surveillance technologies into one easily accessible portal. On this page, you'll find all the materials we have on each individual technology gathered into one place. Materials include FAQs about specific technologies, infographics and videos explaining how technologies work, and advocacy materials for activists concerned about the adoption of street level surveillance technologies in their own community. In the coming months, we'll be adding materials on drones, stingrays, and fusion centers."
Microsoft recently copped flak over forcing users to accept Windows 10 updates. Some users have reported serious problems from Windows 10 updates which included system failure. Now Google is following the same path. Google Play now has a term in the licencing agreement which allows Google to force update any software on Android devices. Without root access most users will be SOL to block or fix problems.
The relevant text reads:
Updates. You may need to install updates to Google Play or related Google software that we introduce from time to time to use Google Play and to access or download Content. Content originating from Google may communicate with Google servers from time to time to check for available updates to the Content and to the functionality of Google Play, such as bug fixes, patches, enhanced functions, missing plug-ins and new versions (collectively, "Updates"). Your use of the Content you have installed requires that you have agreed to receive such automatically requested Updates. If you do not agree to such automatically requested and received Updates then please do not use the Google Play store or install this Content.
Full terms at:https://play.google.com/intl/en-us_au/about/play-terms.html
The polarization of light is the physical phenomenon behind polarized sunglasses and most 3-D movie systems. MIT researchers have shown that by exploiting the polarization of light they can increase the resolution of conventional 3-D imaging devices as much as 1,000 times. The technique could lead to high-quality 3-D cameras built into cellphones, and perhaps to the ability to snap a photo of an object and then use a 3-D printer to produce a replica. The work could also help the development of driverless cars. The researchers call this new system Polarized 3D.http://news.mit.edu/2015/algorithms-boost-3-d-imaging-resolution-1000-times-1201
Australian company pin.net.au now refuses to process payments for VPN users. The software used by the pin.net.au rejects payments originating from a known VPN IP address as it is "high risk" and may be an attempt to conduct fraud. A pin.net.au representative has stated that users need to disable VPN software to make online purchases. The Australian government recently started logging internet and phone activity. Australian politicians have recommended using a VPN and other secure technology to ensure privacy online.
Researchers have observed the process of evolution by natural selection at work in robots, by constructing a ‘mother’ robot that can design, build and test its own ‘children’, and then use the results to improve the performance of the next generation, without relying on computer simulation or human intervention.
Researchers led by the University of Cambridge have built a mother robot that can independently build its own children and test which one does best; and then use the results to inform the design of the next generation, so that preferential traits are passed down from one generation to the next.
Without any human intervention or computer simulation beyond the initial command to build a robot capable of movement, the mother created children constructed of between one and five plastic cubes with a small motor inside.
Full article: http://robotglobe.org/a-mother-robot-that-can-design-build-and-test-its-own-children/