Technology

You may feel safe working at the coffee house because you are not using their public Wi-Fi connection. Think again.

And that smartphone is even more vulnerable to snooping.

The new breed of coffee shop hackers can see what you're doing by analyzing the low-power electronic signals your laptop or smartphone emits - even when it's not connected to the Internet. 

The race is on to plug these information 'leaks' but the first challenge is finding out where they originate. To help, Georgia Institute of Technology engineers have developed a metric for measuring the strength of the leaks - known technically as "side-channel signal" - to help prioritize security efforts. 

Is artificial super-intelligence lurking nearby, under wraps? eugenia_loli, CC BYBy Tony Prescott, University of Sheffield

Automated cameras make it possible to broadcast sporting events but the choices lack the creativity of a human camera operator or director. The camera just goes back and forth following the ball.

Disney Research engineers have now made it possible for robotic cameras to learn from human operators how to better frame shots of a basketball game. Instead of tracking a key object, as legacy systems do, the new work is designed to mimic a human camera operator who can

Don't mobile payments make more sense? US Navy

By Ethan Zuckerman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Apple’s product launches are covered with breathless enthusiasm usually reserved for royal weddings and vaccines for dread diseases.

The recent launch of the iPhone6 featured an exciting new technology - ApplePay - which, if widely adopted, will allow Apple’s discerning customers to make electronic payments from their phones in situations where they would have used credit cards or cash.

The following is a guest post by David Orban, CEO at Dotsub, faculty and advisor at Singularity University, and trustee of Network Society Research.

When I implanted an NFC chip in my left hand about two months ago at the Singularity University Summit Europe in Amsterdam, I followed the tradition of our species that a hundred thousand years or more ago decided to become a cyborg.

A new research effort is focused on nanostructured materials with biocompatible and antibacterial properties. Ana Maria Arizmendi Morquecho, scholar at the Research Center for Advanced Materials (Cimav) in Mexico, says that the challenge is to find appropriate measures to improve the compatibility of a metal structure with the chemical composition of bone tissue and human bone’s nanostructures.

Materials have to be resistant to wear, they need improved mechanical properties and they need to be compatible with the human body while abiding with public health requirements. Knees are a good place to make advances since knee problems are common and real-world data has been available for decades.
Cycling for Science #2 - Geology

Cycling on tarmac roads in summer is all very well but you can learn a whole lot about geology - and the laws of physics - if you ride off-road.  For example: today I went for a ride along a little-known trail and discovered a great deal about the adhesive properties of clay, the non-adhesive properties of tires clogged with wet clay and the super-adhesive and abrasive properties of brake pads clogged with dry clay.


A lot of mud and a bike - bliss!


An aside

A nationwide project to study the genetic causes of rare developmental disorders has found 12 causative genes that were unidentified before. The Deciphering Developmental Disorders (DDD) nationwide genome-wide diagnostic sequencing program sequenced DNA and compared the clinical characteristics of over a thousand children to find the genes responsible for conditions that include intellectual disabilities and congenital heart defects, among others. 


By David Glance, University of Western Australia

People of the western world have been making resolutions for the new year for over 4,000 years.

The Babylonians, along with the Romans who later developed the idea further, made resolutions in the hope of favorable returns from the gods.

No one in business can figure out what an 'SEO expert' is - in most cases it is simply the person who knows the password to the Facebook account. A new study finds that it may be better to have less popular people rather than marketing experts talking about your fundraising efforts, because people with fewer friends on Facebook raise more money for charity than those with lots of connections. 

Professor Kimberley Scharf, economist at the University of Warwick, analyzed data from JustGiving.com and found a negative correlation between the size of a group and the amount of money given by each donor - with the average contribution by each person dropping by two pence for every extra connection someone had on Facebook.