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Thursday, March 31, 2022

History of the Mag Amp

 I recall talking to an engineer at the U of P about them investigating the Mag Amp after the war.  Quite interesting.   Easier to build and maintain he said, and usable in more difficult environments.   A considerable history below ....  Was unaware of their survival into the Internet era.   This basic 'amplifier' design was used by Univac,  and in Redstone rockets.       Reading ....


Magnetic amplifiers, the alt-tech of the Third Reich, lasted into the Internet era


DURING THE SECOND World War, the German military developed what were at the time some very sophisticated technologies, including the V-2 rockets it used to rain destruction on London. Yet the V-2, along with much other German military hardware, depended on an obscure and seemingly antiquated component you’ve probably never heard of, something called the magnetic amplifier or mag amp.  ,,,' 

Autodesk Aquires The Wild

 Worked with Autodesk in the enterprise when they were helping us maintain machine and device blueprints for key processes.   Now they are going beyond.

Autodesk Acquires Enterprise Collab Platform The Wild

It follows The Wild’s acquisition of IrisVR last year.


While all the focus might be on virtual reality (VR) gaming, the enterprise side of the industry is a hotbed of advancing tech and ever-evolving workflows. Another nod to that fact arrives today with the reveal that AEC (architecture, engineering, construction) software specialist Autodesk has acquired immersive collaboration The Wild.

The Wild

Thanks to its own acquisition of IrisVR in 2021, The Wild is also heavily involved in the AEC sector, allowing Autodesk to gain an even stronger foothold as businesses look towards XR to help deliver projects in a world becoming more attuned to remote working practices. Integrating with tools such as Revit, SketchUp, and BIM 360, The Wild’s cross-platform ecosystem integrates with Meta Quest, HP Reverb, Pico Neo, HTC Vive, PC and even AR (on iOS devices) to make it easily accessible to all co-workers.

Between The Wild and IrisVR, both platforms serve over 700 customers worldwide which Autodesk will now be able to build upon. No acquisition sum has been revealed and there’s been no mention of how this will impact the current teams going forward.

“Our acquisition of The Wild reflects the rapid transformation taking place in the building industry, from the complexity of projects to the geographic diversity of teams who design, construct, and operate them,” said Andrew Anagnost, CEO and president, Autodesk in a statement. “XR is a must-have business imperative for today and an important part of Autodesk’s Forge platform vision.” .... ' 

3D Printed Drugs for Personalized Pharma

If done well and efficiently raises a number of interesting applications. 

3D-Printed Tablets Offer Taste of Personalized Medicine  By New Atlas, March 30, 2022

Researchers at the U.K.'s University College London (UCL) have demonstrated that three-dimensional (3D) printing could be used to produce personalized medicines, with dosages and drug combinations customized for a patient's needs.

Building on the 3D-printing technique of vat photopolymerization, the new method, known as volumetric 3D printing, uses light during printing to form a resin containing dissolved drugs and a photoreactive chemical into a tablet.

By curing the entire resin structure at the same time rather than extruding the resin layer by layer, the researchers shortened printing time to as little as seven seconds (it took 17 seconds to produce 3D-printed tablets containing paracetamol).

UCL's Alvaro Goyanes said, "This technology could be a game changer for the pharmaceutical industry."

From New Atlas

View Full Article    

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Get Ready for the Metaverse

Talk I attended today, A positive view of the   emerging Metaverse. 

Metaverse Continuum: 4 Technology Trends Everyone Must Get Ready For Now  (from Linkedin) 

every year, Accenture releases its technology vision with the key trends for the near future. I spoke to Accenture's Group Chief Executive for Technology Paul Daugherty about their 2022 trends.


Bernard Marr  @ebernardmarrr and Paul Daugherty of Accenture

Hacking Google Alerts Service

Notable, more details at the link

Hackers are using Google Alerts to help spread malware  in ITPro

Fake news gives rise to fake alerts that install phony Adobe Flash updates

by: Rene Millman  22 Feb 2021

Hackers have managed to subvert a Google service into tricking unsuspecting users into installing malware.

Cyber criminals have targeted the Google Alerts service, which they have used to push fake updates to the now-defunct Adobe Flash Player. According to reports, hackers have created fake news stories with titles containing popular keywords that Google’s search engine then indexes. When this happens, Google Alerts pushes out notifications to people who follow these keywords.

Since these “stories” come via Google Alerts, hackers hope victims will think the alert is legitimate and will click on the fake story. Doing so leads victims to a malicious site that pushes browser notification spam, unwanted extensions, or fake giveaways.   ... '

Spooky Action Could Help Boost Quantum Machine Learning

In my earliest days of  physics was mystified with the spooky part, now it turns out to the key to the value?

Spooky Action Could Help Boost Quantum Machine Learning

IEEE Spectrum, Charles Q. Choi, March 7, 2022

Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Louisiana State University suggest quantum entanglement, or "spooky action at a distance," might help clear a path toward quantum machine learning (ML) by overcoming the no-free-lunch theorem. The theorem posits that any ML algorithm is only as good as any other when their performance is averaged over many problems and training datasets. This implies that modeling a quantum system could require a volume of training data that must grow exponentially as the modeled system expands. Researchers suggested entangling extra or "ancilla" quantum bits with the quantum system that a quantum computer intends to model, enabling the quantum ML circuit to interact with many quantum states in the training data concurrently. They used quantum-hardware startup Rigetti's Aspen-4 quantum computer to confirm these findings ... '

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Charging Stations Increasing Threats?

More is being talked about how changes in infrastructure will enable threats.    This is a good example of how such approaches can be examined.

ACM NEWS   Do EV Charging Stations Open the Power Grid to Attack?

By Paul Marks, Commissioned by CACM Staff, March 29, 2022

Forget about range anxiety, the fear you'll drive your electric vehicle (EV) too far to make it back home before running out of power. Another concern rearing its ugly head to drivers of electric cars now is the digital security of the charging stations where they may replenish their batteries when away from home.

Vulnerabilities in the complex software used to control charging stations, it turns out, could allow attackers to mount debilitating hacks on power grids, disrupting electrical supplies, or even taking them down completely.  

An international team of penetration testers reverse-engineered the way software at the mobile, Web, and embedded firmware levels is used to control commercial EV charging stations. The pentesters (penetration testers) found that Internet-connected EV Charging Station Management Systems (EVCSMS) that track and manage charging stations at drive-in sites were prone to a swathe of remote cyberattacks, some of them critical.

In addition to putting the power grid's stability at risk, some of the susceptibilities they identified could allow attackers to gain complete control of charging stations, letting them configure the systems as they wished—perhaps letting compatriots charge their EVs for free, or allowing them to claim illicit refunds. Some were also capable of being used as platforms from which distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks could be mounted.

The research team published its findings in the January 2022 edition of peer-reviewed  journal Computers & Security, at a time when EV charging station networks are fast proliferating globally to service the switch from hybrid and gasoline cars to EVs, as governments the world over pursue net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

In the U.S., for instance, the Biden administration introduced plans as part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed by Congress in November 2021 to encourage American states to roll out no less than 500,000 new EV charging stations coast-to-coast by 2030, with $5 billion in seed funding available to help make it all happen.

Tony Nasr, a cybersecurity engineer at the Concordia Institute for Information Systems Engineering in Montreal, Canada, wondered what such massive growth in this specialized form of Internet-based infrastructure would mean for urban security, especially since the charger networks are fed by critical infrastructure we all depend on: the power grid.  

"Given the exponential growth in the number of EVs, and the resulting increase in the numbers of deployed EV charging stations, there is the utmost need to examine the cybersecurity of charging stations and their networks," Nasr says. 

So, alongside his Concordia colleagues Sadegh Torabi and Chadi Assi, plus Elias Bou-Harb at the University of Texas at San Antonio and Claude Fachka at the University of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Nasr set about finding out more about the risks. However, as EV charging stations are based on a blizzard of commercial products developed by a variety of international vendors, how could they even begin to assess their security?

Their answer was to harness "dorking"—a precision form of Websearch—to find functional details on the mobile app and Web-based components of some 15 EVCSMS applications, used to manage the charging devices, plus the embedded firmware, the charging stations they are installed in, and their networking capabilities. ... ' 

Data and Demand Forecasting

Converting retail data to demand forecasting. 

Snowflake readies Amazon Retail Data for Demand Forecasting

Andrew Brust  in Venturebeat   March 29, 2022 6:00 AM

To further strengthen our commitment to providing industry-leading coverage of data technology, VentureBeat is excited to welcome Andrew Brust and Tony Baer as regular contributors. Watch for their articles in the Data Pipeline.

Cloud data warehouse darling Snowflake has been investing a lot in its data ecosystem. Yesterday, the company made a broad announcement around the launch of its Retail Data Cloud, which integrates the core Snowflake platform with partner-delivered solutions and industry-specific datasets. Today, the company is announcing an important initiative within that rollout, which it shared exclusively with VentureBeat: it’s partnering with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to bring Amazon.com sales channel data directly into customers’ Snowflake data warehouse instances.

Data for sales intelligence

This is a data-driven age for retail, a phenomenon accelerated by the pandemic and the twists and turns COVID has created in buyer preferences and purchasing patterns. The provision of the Amazon.com data is intended to help retail and CPG (consumer packaged goods) customers not only monitor Amazon.com Vendor Central PO data, but also leverage Amazon Forecast functionality within their Snowflake environments.  ... "

Emotional Sensing Examined for the Metaverse

Emotional Sensing,  much examined, new methods for the metaverse?

Nemesysco spinoff unveils emotional detection and AI tools for metaverse  excerpt in Venturebeat

As organizations continue to move toward digital transformation, enterprise decision-makers are seeing a greater need for data-driven decisions backed by high-quality analytics. A key challenge organizations face is the lack of insights into the different types of customer inquiries they receive and the reason for customer contact, according to a report by Gartner. 

Steve Blood, a vice president and analyst at Gartner, said in the report that organizations can use speech/voice analytics to optimize contact center costs with self-service, process improvement and deeper engagement. “Application leaders for customer service and support technology who are under pressure to cut costs should first use voice analytics to discover which types of inquiries could be automated or avoided, before addressing improvements in customer engagement via the phone or digital channel,” said Blood.

Voice analytics holds great promise, with Gartner predicting 60% of organizations with voice of the customer (VoC) programs will supplement traditional surveys by analyzing voice and text interactions with customers by 2025. While an article by McKinsey notes voice analytics can provide a high-quality customer experience in a digital age, it isn’t the only use case for voice analytics. For example, voice analytics can also help organizations improve operational efficiency across the board. 

Another report, by Deepgram and Opus Research, shows 77% of companies are using voice technology to identify new business opportunities, and 62% are using it to increase revenues. The use cases for voice technology are enormous and Israel-based voice analysis technology company, Nemesysco, wants to drive new frontiers in the industry.

Nemesysco is in the process of spinning off a new voice analytics company called Emotion Logic, which will use artificial intelligence (AI) to detect and measure human emotions and improve automated communications and interactions in metaverse worlds.  ... ' 

Mobility of Tomorrow Examined.

 Excerpts from Fraunhofer piece.

The mobility of tomorrow  

“Mobility is about more than the proverbial concept of getting from A to B. When it comes to cars, there are factors that go beyond the purely objective.” Sebastian Stegmüller, Fraunhofer

Cars of the future

Web special Fraunhofer magazine 4.2021

In the right direction

The cars of the future will need design of the future. Find out how Fraunhofer is helping to restructure transport.

New times, new challenges – and new challengers. E-mobility pioneer Tesla, which launched on the German market in 2013 with its Model S, had reason to celebrate in October. The growth rates for Tesla vehicles registered in Germany were in the triple digits, marking an increase of 482.9 percent. German manufacturers saw a double-digit drop, with the exception of Porsche, which stayed almost stab-le at just minus 0.8 percent. Volkswagen, Mercedes, BMW and Audi have also taken on the challenge of e-mobility. With its research fab for battery production, in which ten Fraunhofer Institutes are involved, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is helping to expand and strengthen Germany’s position as a leader in battery manufacturing technology. And yet it will take more than that to ensure Germany maintains this position and doesn’t slip down the ranks in terms of environmental rating and reputation.

Diversity – on our roads too

The cars of the future need mobility that’s fit for the future. Dr. André Häusler has warned against closed-mindedness when it comes to mobility. The expert from the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen believes that diversity in transportation will become a necessity. He envisions different drive methods coexist­ing harmoniously – depending on where cars are used and what they are used for Need to fill up in five minutes and then drive 650 kilometers? Hydrogen is best for the job. Living in a rural area where charging points are hard to come by? A hybrid model with a combustion engine and an electric motor might be the best option. “In the coming years, car manu­facturers won’t just have one drive type in their portfolio anymore,” says Dr. Häusler. “They’ll need to offer a separate solution for every need – hydrogen, electric, gas, diesel and hybrid models.”

New times, new challenges – and new challengers. E-mobility pioneer Tesla, which launched on the German market in 2013 with its Model S, had reason to celebrate in October. The growth rates for Tesla vehicles registered in Germany were in the triple digits, marking an increase of 482.9 percent. German manufacturers saw a double-digit drop, with the exception of Porsche, which stayed almost stab-le at just minus 0.8 percent. Volkswagen, Mercedes, BMW and Audi have also taken on the challenge of e-mobility. With its research fab for battery production, in which ten Fraunhofer Institutes are involved, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is helping to expand and strengthen Germany’s position as a leader in battery manufacturing technology. And yet it will take more than that to ensure Germany maintains this position and doesn’t slip down the ranks in terms of environmental rating and reputation.

Diversity – on our roads too

The cars of the future need mobility that’s fit for the future. Dr. André Häusler has warned against closed-mindedness when it comes to mobility. The expert from the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen believes that diversity in transportation will become a necessity. He envisions different drive methods coexist­ing harmoniously – depending on where cars are used and what they are used for Need to fill up in five minutes and then drive 650 kilometers? Hydrogen is best for the job. Living in a rural area where charging points are hard to come by? A hybrid model with a combustion engine and an electric motor might be the best option. “In the coming years, car manu­facturers won’t just have one drive type in their portfolio anymore,” says Dr. Häusler. “They’ll need to offer a separate solution for every need – hydrogen, electric, gas, diesel and hybrid models.”  ... ' 

On IoT Implementation

McKinsey research shows that adoption of IoT technologies has increased exponentially the past five years--but successful implementation still eludes some. Here’s how to get it right they say.  Good thoughtful and useful piece ..... ' 

Monday, March 28, 2022

Roboticized Insect Rescue

Interesting application,  Will the small size work for typical applications?  Note these are actual insects being used! So this is bio-augmentation rather then mimicry.   A considerable result if it works practically    An example of using small size to enable search and rescue. 

Robotized Insects May Search Collapsed Buildings for Survivors   By The Economist, March 28, 2022

Researchers at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University have developed robotized insects that could be used to search for survivors in collapsed buildings.  The researchers outfitted Madagascar hissing cockroaches with backpacks featuring a communications chip, a carbon dioxide sensor, a motion sensor, an infrared camera, and a small battery.

The cockroaches are controlled by algorithms that respond directly to the backpack sensors. The researchers tested the so-called cyber-roaches in a simulated disaster zone spanning 25 square meters, which contained concrete blocks, people, and decoys like a microwave oven and a laptop.

Artificial intelligence programmed into the camera identified signs of life such as movement, body heat, and elevated carbon dioxide levels, sending alerts to rescuers if a survivor has been detected.

The researchers found the software correctly recognized humans 87% of the time.

From The Economist     

Automating Data Science?

 Good to have consistent,  easily understood efforts in a library of solutions. 

Automating Data Science

By Tijl De Bie, Luc De Raedt, José Hernández-Orallo, Holger H. Hoos, Padhraic Smyth, Christopher K. I. Williams

Communications of the ACM, March 2022, Vol. 65 No. 3, Pages 76-87   10.1145/3495256

Data science covers the full spectrum of deriving insight from data, from initial data gathering and interpretation, via processing and engineering of data, and exploration and modeling, to eventually producing novel insights and decision support systems.

 Data science can be viewed as overlapping or broader in scope than other data-analytic methodological disciplines, such as statistics, machine learning, databases, or visualization

To illustrate the breadth of data science, consider, for example, the problem of recommending items (movies, books, or other products) to customers.

 While the core of these applications can consist of algorithmic techniques such as matrix factorization, a deployed system will involve a much wider range of technological and human considerations.

 These range from scalable back-end transaction systems that retrieve customer and product data in real time, experimental design for evaluating system changes, causal analysis for understanding the effect of interventions, to the human factors and psychology that underlie how customers react to visual information displays and make decisions.

As another example, in areas such as astronomy, particle physics, and climate science, there is a rich tradition of building computational pipelines to support data-driven discovery and hypothesis testing. For instance, geoscientists use monthly global landcover maps based on satellite imagery at sub-kilometer resolutions to better understand how the Earth's surface is changing over time.50 These maps are interactive and browsable, and they are the result of a complex data-processing pipeline, in which terabytes to petabytes of raw sensor and image data are transformed into databases of a6utomatically detected and annotated objects and information. This type of pipeline involves many steps, in which human decisions and insight are critical, such as instrument calibration, removal of outliers, and classification of pixels.

The breadth and complexity of these and many other data science scenarios means the modern data scientist requires broad knowledge and experience across a multitude of topics. Together with an increasing demand for data analysis skills, this has led to a shortage of trained data scientists with appropriate background and experience, and significant market competition for limited expertise. Considering this bottleneck, it is not surprising there is increasing interest in automating parts, if not all, of the data science process. This desire and potential for automation is the focus of this article.

Making Quantum Circuits more Robust

Less training and less error claimed.

Making Quantum Circuits More Robust   By MIT News, March 25, 2022

A team led by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has developed a framework to make quantum circuits more resilient to noise.   Called Quantum NAS (Noise Adaptive Search), the framework can determine the most robust quantum circuit for a certain computing task and produce a mapping pattern tailored to the qubits of the targeted quantum device.

MIT’s Song Han said, “Using this method, we can obtain many different circuits and mapping strategies at once with no need for many times of training.”

The process involved designing a “SuperCircuit” with all possible parameterized quantum gates in the design space, training the SuperCircuit once, and then using it to identify circuit architectures that meet a targeted objective.  The quantum circuits identified by the algorithm as the best were tested on real quantum devices; the researchers determined they outperformed quantum circuits produced using other methods. ... 

....  The researchers focused on variational quantum circuits, which use quantum gates with trainable parameters that can learn a machine learning or quantum chemistry task. ... '

  Full Article

Dyson on Science

Via Cliff Pickover    @Pickover

“The public has a distorted view of science because children are taught in school that science is a collection of firmly established truths. In fact, science is not a collection of truths. It is a continuing exploration of mysteries.”     ~Freeman Dyson, bit.ly/36PUNai

Agree, should be but almost never taught this way ...

Security for Blockchains


Security: The Lock and the Key to Blockchain's Future

March 8, 2022

Blockchain should be known for its powerful security and revolutionary potential, not for the small number of avoidable hacks and exploits that tarnish its reputation. Meaningful security practices must be as prevalent and adopted in crypto as "https" is on the Internet.

This means routine auditing, continuous real-time monitoring, and an ongoing commitment to security from both users and developers as the ecosystem evolves. Then, and perhaps only then, will blockchain technology be free to reach its full potential.

From Security Magazine

View Full Article     

Auditing Data for Studies

Interesting kind of reliability analysis study.

'Auditing' tool can improve reliability of studies that explore relationships between things

By EKATERINA PESHEVA March 2, 2022 Research

Harvard Medical School News & Research, Ekaterina Pesheva, March 2, 2022

Harvard Medical School (HMS) scientists created the vibration of effects (VoE) auditing tool to improve the reliability of studies that explore the relationships between things. "At its most basic, the vibration of effects model analyzes how the modeling choices a researcher makes can influence what they will discover," explained former HMS researcher Braden Tierney. The tool applies brute-force computation to test the reliability of research findings, and researchers can use it to vet their own results before submission for publication. The tool was used to analyze connections between various gut microbes and six diseases in 15 published studies. High-scoring studies were found to be less reliable because their VoE results exhibited significant variation when run through multiple testing models, while low-scoring studies were found to be more reliable because they identified associations that remained consistent even when processed by different models. ... 

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Fido Alliance to Replace Passwords

Seeking a secure Passwordless future, with ease of use?  Like the idea. 

A Big Bet to Kill the Password for Good

in ACM By Wired, March 22, 2022

After years of tantalizing hints that a passwordless future is just around the corner, you're probably still not feeling any closer to that digital unshackling. Ten years into working on the issue, though, the FIDO Alliance, an industry association that specifically works on secure authentication, thinks it has finally identified the missing piece of the puzzle. 

On Thursday, the organization published a white paper that lays out FIDO's vision for solving the usability issues that have dogged passwordless features and, seemingly, kept them from achieving broad adoption. FIDO's members collaborated to produce the paper, and they span chipmakers like Intel and Qualcomm, prominent platform developers like Amazon and Meta, financial institutions like American Express and Bank of America, and the developers of all major operating systems—Google, Microsoft, and Apple. 

The paper is conceptual, not technical, but after years of investment to integrate what are known as the FIDO2 and WebAuthn passwordless standards into Windows, Android, iOS, and more, everything is now riding on the success of this next step.

"The key to being successful for FIDO is being readily available—we need to be as ubiquitous as passwords," says Andrew Shikiar, executive director of the FIDO Alliance. "Passwords are part of the DNA of the web itself, and we're trying supplant that. Not using a password should be easier than using a password."

View Full Article  

LPA VisiRule AutoAudit Announcement

Visirule is an interesting way to introduce process rules for integrated decisions into AI applications.

LPA announce VisiRule AutoAudit automated testing for its No-Code Low-Code visual rules tool

LPA announce a new automated testing component for VisiRule which allows VisiRule authors to test and validate their charts at a single click. VisiRule AutoAudit tests for logical consistency and completeness as well as support rule maintenance and updates.


LPA announce a new release of VisiRule which includes VisiRule AutoAudit, an automated testing component for checking the logic of the chart.

VisiRule AutoAudit allows authors to monitor the behaviour and calculated logic contained within their charts This enables business users to validate the underlying decision logic empirically.

In its simplest mode, the module offers a single-click way to generate and execute a test suite which invokes the chart multiple times and produces an output table containing all the results. For each individual data row the table contains the conclusion reached, a success/failure indicator and, optionally, insight into internal calculations and outputs.

As test suites are generated as readable data files, they can be hand-edited by authors to target specific combinations of data values. The result is that authors can produce tables of results which show the answers the system computes for various combinations of input values in a format that can be verified and validated by external reviewers. Switches are available for authors who want to exploit VisiRule's unique backtracking mechanism to compute alternate solution sets.

In its more advanced mode the module allow authors to make changes to charts and see what effect, if any, the changes have on the resulting computations using the nominated test suite. This is aimed at projects where logic is subject to continual refinement and authors need to know that previously correct computations have not been affected by any proposed updates.  .... 

Serious Cyber Attacks Imminent?

 Given some of the strong language being used lately,  we should be aware of possible attacks on our key infrastructure, including power, water, internet and beyond.     There have seen some indications by Google and other players that they are sending ou emergency security updates and warnings.  Panic not advised, but do secure your key systems.  Imagine your world without an operational internet.     Here from the BBC an outline of key possibilities:  https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-60841924.

US Infrastructure Companies Must Report Hacking

Via Bruce Schneier who writes (and includes considerable comment at the link) 

US Critical Infrastructure Companies Will Have to Report When They Are Hacked ...

Companies critical to U.S. national interests will now have to report when they’re hacked or they pay ransomware, according to new rules approved by Congress .....    The reporting requirement legislation was approved by the House and the Senate on Thursday and is expected to be signed into law by President Joe Biden soon. It requires any entity that’s considered part of the nation’s critical infrastructure, which includes the finance, transportation and energy sectors, to report any “substantial cyber incident” to the government within three days and any ransomware payment made within 24 hours.... 

Even better would be if they had to report it to the public.(writes Schneier) ... 

Saturday, March 26, 2022

NFTs for Military Support?

Unexpected. What are the requirements for using NFTs for fundraising? 

Ukraine is selling NFTs to support its military

The collection is meant to document the history of the war.

K. Bell  @karissabe    March 25th, 2022  in Engadget

Ukraine's Ministry for Digital Transformation has launched an NFT collection to help fund its military. The project was first announced in early March, but the NFT collection, called “ Meta History Museum of War,” is now live. The collection is meant to be an “NFT museum” documenting the history of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The collection is currently comprised of 54 NFTs documenting the events of the first three days of the war. The illustrations were done by Ukrainian and international artists, and each one references a tweet documenting some aspect of the invasion and the world’s response to it.

“The formula of each NFT is clear and simple: each token is a real news piece from an official source and an illustration from artists, both Ukrainian and international,” Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation writes on its Meta History Museum of War website. “The NFT’s will be created in chronological order, according to the events so the true history will be saved and cherished.”   ... ' 


Cyberwarefare and need for vigilance, prep now and in the Future

Anonymous Claims it Hacked Russia's Central Bank   By Daily Mail (U.K.)  Reuters March 24, 2022

Earlier this week, Anonymous warned Western companies continuing to operate in Russia that they must pull out or risk facing cyberattacks in light of the invasion of Ukraine.

International hacking collective Anonymous claims to have exploited Russia's Central Bank - and is threatening to release 35,000 files which include 'secret agreements' in the next 48 hours.   The bank is responsible for protecting and ensuring the safety of the ruble, the Russian currency which has plummeted in value since the invasion of Ukraine began last month.

In a post on Twitter late last night by one of the group's accounts, Anonymous revealed its latest hack, though details were limited.

From Daily Mail (U.K.)

View Full Article  

Comparison of Biz Intelligence Tools

Via friend Walter Riker, useful. 

Power BI vs. Tableau: Business intelligence tools comparison

by William J. Francis in Software in Techrepublic.  on March 23, 2022, 3:07 PM PDT

Power BI and Tableau are business intelligence tools. Which top BI tool best fits your needs? We compare features and more.  ... '

Very Deep Neural Networks

Good piece in Linkedin

Very Deep Neural Networks Explained in 40 Seconds

Published on March 25, 2022,  By Vincent Granville

Machine Learning Scientist | MachineLearningRecipes.com

Very deep neural networks (VDNN) illustrated with data animation: a 40 second video, featuring supervised learning, layers, neurons, fuzzy classification, and convolution filters.

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Here instead, I use a video to illustrate the concept of very deep neural networks (VDNN).

I use a supervised classification problem to explain how a VDNN works. Supervised classification is one of the main algorithms in supervised learning. The training set has four groups, each assigned a different color. The type of DNN described here is a convolutional neural network (CNN): it relies on filtering techniques. The filter is referred to, in the literature, as a convolution operator, thus the name CNN.   ... ' 

Tiny Switches Give Solid-State LiDAR Record Resolution

Experimented with LiDar and asset analysis.

Tiny Switches Give Solid-State LiDAR Record Resolution

By Berkeley Engineering, March 11, 2022

A high-resolution light detection and ranging (LiDAR) chip developed by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) could pave the way for smaller, less-expensive LiDAR navigation systems.

The new LiDAR chip is based on a focal plane switch array, which can channel all available laser power through a single antenna at once.

The researchers also used microelectromechanical system (MEMS) switches that physically move the waveguides from one position to another; this allows 16,384 pixels to be placed on a 1-centimeter-square chip, with each pixel equivalent to 0.6 degrees of the array's 70-degree field of view.

A 360-degree view around a vehicle could be achieved by mounting several of these chips in a circular configuration.

Said UC Berkeley's Ming Wu, "There will be so many more potential applications once we shrink LiDAR to the size of a smartphone camera."

A solid-state LiDAR chip emitting laser light from an optical antenna connected to a tiny switch; reflected light is captured by the same antenna. Three-dimensional images are obtained by sequentially turning on the switches in the array.

From Berkeley Engineering

Using ML to Understand How Brain Cells Work

Using ML to Understand How Brain Cells Work

University of Wisconsin-Madison News

Charlene N. Rivera-Bonet,  February 17, 2022

The University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW)'s Daifeng Wang and colleagues used machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence to better understand how interacting traits influence brain cells' functions. The researchers applied manifold learning to predict neuronal features by aligning gene expression and electrophysiological data for about 3,000 neurons in the mouse brain; both neuronal cell features manifested high values in the same group of cells, but low values in the remainder, and exhibited a relationship to one another that described their manifold shape. The researchers then used cell clusters to unveil connections between electrophysiological features and specific genes governing the expression of other genes. This informed the development of deepManReg, a new manifold learning model that enhances the prediction of neuronal traits based on gene expression and electrophysiology. "Basically, [we can study] how those genes are regulated to affect the electrophysiology or behaviors in diseased cells," Wang said.  .. ' 

Friday, March 25, 2022

Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF)

 Open Source move at Robotics. 

Happy 10th Birthday to the Open Source Robotics Foundation OSRF founders discuss changes they’ve seen over the last decade      By EVAN ACKERMAN  in IEEE Spectrum

Ten years ago this week (more or less), the Open Source Robotics Foundation announced that it was spinning out of Willow Garage as a more permanent home for the Robot Operating System. We covered this news at the time (which makes yours truly feel not quite so young anymore), but it wasn’t entirely clear just what would happen to OSRF long term.

Obviously, things have gone well over the last decade, not just for OSRF, but also for Gazebo, ROS, and the ROS community as a whole. OSRF is now officially Open Robotics, but that hasn’t stopped all sane people from continuing to call it OSRF anyway, because five syllables is just ridiculous. Meanwhile, ROS has been successful enough that it’s getting increasingly difficult to find alliterative turtle names to mark new releases.

To celebrate this milestone, we asked some of the original OSRF folks some awkward questions, including what it is about ROS or ROS users that scares them the most.

First, some fun statistics:

Unique visitor downloads of ROS packages in 2011: 4,517

Unique visitor downloads of ROS packages in 2021: 789,956

Public Github repositories currently tagged for ROS or ROS2: 6,559

Cumulative citations of the original ROS paper (::cough:: workshop paper ::cough::): 9,451

Number of syllables added by changing “OSRF” to “Open Robotics”: 1

For a bit more history, we sent a couple of questions to some OSRF folks who go way back, including Brian Gerkey (cofounder and CEO, Open Robotics), Ryan Gariepy (cofounder of Clearpath Robotics and OTTO Motors and Open Robotics board member), and Nate Koenig (cofounder and CTO, Open Robotics).  ... ' 

Watson Addressing Grid Failures

 Important domain to cover.  

MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab Tackles Power Grid Failures with AI  in Datanami   By Jaime Hampton

Next time your power stays on during a severe weather event, you may have a machine learning model to thank.

Researchers at the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab are using artificial intelligence to solve power grid failures. The manager of the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab, Jie Chen, and his colleagues have developed a machine learning model that works to analyze data collected from hundreds of thousands of sensors located across the U.S. power grid.

The sensors, components of what is known as synchrophasor technology, compile vast amounts of real-time data related to electric current and voltage in order to monitor the health of the grid and locate anomalies that could cause outages.

Synchrophasor analysis requires intensive computational resources due to the size and real-time nature of the data streams the sensors produce. There can be difficulty with quickly extracting data for anomaly detection, or the “task of identifying unusual samples that significantly deviate from the majority of the data instances,” as defined in the researchers’ paper.

The ML model can be trained without annotated data on power grid anomalies, which is advantageous because much of the data collected by the sensors is unstructured.

“In the case of a power grid, people have tried to capture the data using statistics and then define detection rules with domain knowledge to say that, for example, if the voltage surges by a certain percentage, then the grid operator should be alerted. Such rule-based systems, even empowered by statistical data analysis, require a lot of labor and expertise. We show that we can automate this process and also learn patterns from the data using advanced machine-learning techniques,” said Chen in an MIT News article. .... '

Russian Energy Hacking Claimed

Energy being attacked? 

US charges four Russians over hacking campaign on energy sector

By Gordon Corera, Security correspondent, in BBC News

The US has charged four Russians government employees with cyber-attacks on the global energy sector. They are accused of targeting hundreds of companies and organisations in around 135 countries between 2012-2018.Their activities are said to have caused two separate emergency shutdowns at one facility in Saudi Arabia.  The conspiracy then allegedly attempted to hack the computers of a company that managed similar critical infrastructure entities in the US.  Some of the individuals are linked by the US indictment to the FSB, Russia's security service. The UK has also sanctioned a Russian defence organisation said to be linked to the attack.  ... ' 

Bitcoin Accepted in Russia

 Bitcoin Accepted for Oil and Gas under Sanctions.

Russia considers accepting Bitcoin for oil and gas

By Annabelle Liang, Business reporter

Russia is considering accepting Bitcoin as payment for its oil and gas exports, according to a high-ranking lawmaker.

Pavel Zavalny says "friendly" countries could be allowed to pay in the crypto-currency or in their local currencies.,Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he wanted "unfriendly" countries to buy its gas with roubles.

The move is understood to be aimed at boosting the Russian currency, which has lost over 20% in value this year.,Sanctions imposed by the UK, US and the European Union, following the invasion of Ukraine, have put a strain on Russia's rouble and raised its cost of living.

However, Russia is still the world's biggest exporter of natural gas and the second largest supplier of oil.... ' 

Book: The Age of AI and Our Human Future: Drones as Early Interactions?

Finished the below book, excellent,  useful read, especially in the later chapters as it relates to human future.    Was written before the Ukraine conflict which would have been a good example.  Note my recent posts on drone use.    I note that during the era of AI development, we also touched on such concerns, but it is clear we are much closer to needing to globally understand an age of AI now.   - FAD 

The Age of AI and our Human Future     by Henry A Kissinger, Eric Schmidt and Daniel Huttenlocher

Artificial Intelligence (Al) is transforming human society in fundamental and profound ways. Not since the Age of Reason have we changed how we approach security, economics, order, and even knowledge itself. In The Age of Al, three deep and accomplished thinkers come together to consider what Al will mean for us all.

An Al learned to win at chess by making moves that human grand masters had never conceived. Another Al discovered a new antibiotic by analyzing molecular properties human scientists did not understand. Now, Al-powered jets are defeating experienced human pilots in simulated dogfights. Al is coming online in searching, streaming, medicine, education, and many other fields and, in so doing, transforming how humans are experiencing reality.

The Age of Al is an essential road map to our present and our future; an era unlike any that has come before.  ...   

Thursday, March 24, 2022

The State of AI in Graphs

Some graphical lnsight on AI and its direction.


12 Graphs That Explain the State of AI in 2022,    Summary of Stanford HAI report , 

   By IEEE Spectrum, March 24, 2022

Every year, the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI) puts out its AI Index, a massive compendium of data and graphs that tries to sum up the current state of artificial intelligence. The 2022 AI Index, which came out this week, is as impressive as ever, with 190 pages covering R&D, technical performance, ethics, policy, education, and the economy. I've done you a favor by reading every page of the report and plucking out 12 charts that capture the state of play.

It's worth noting that many of the trends I reported from last year's 2021 index still hold. For example, we are still living in a golden AI summer with ever-increasing publications, the AI job market is still global, and there's still a disconcerting gap between corporate recognition of AI risks and attempts to mitigate said risks. Rather than repeat those points here, we refer you to last year's coverage.

IEEE Spectrum

Towards Robot Trucking

 A move  to better supply chains?    Competing with Rail?

Robot Truckers Could Replace 500K U.S. Jobs

By Bloomberg Quint, March 24, 2022

Autonomous driving engineers are developing driverless trucks for long-haul freight that runs along simple interstate routes.

Infrastructure may be the biggest challenge, and one solution is to establish transfer stations at either end so human drivers mount the first leg of the trip, hitch their cargo to robot rigs for the middle segment, then transfer freight back to an analog truck for delivery.

Another hurdle is designing self-driving trucks to navigate better in bad weather.  A University of Michigan-Carnegie Mellon University study estimated such a system could replace about 90% of human driving in U.S. long-haul trucking, or about 500,000 jobs.

Among the startups investing in robot truckers is CA-based TuSimple, which claims its self-driving systems can cut fuel consumption by up to 10%.

From Bloomberg Quint    

Sonification of Data, Down Here and High Above

 We experimented with using a data sonification which represented sales results and breakthough types of cases.   Below is not the same thing, but I always fondly think of the use of  sound, properly designed, can give incentive and even insight.   Can you think of its use?

NASA Celebrates 5,000 Exoplanet Milestone with ‘Data Sonification’

Demonstration:  https://youtu.be/yv4DbU1CWAY 

By Ryan Whitwam on March 23, 2022 at 9:26 am

A few short decades ago, we could only speculate about the possibility of planets beyond our own solar system, but then we started finding them. Little by little, the universe has become a bustling place with more exoplanets being discovered every year. How many? NASA JPL says as of March 21st, there are just over 5,000 of them. To celebrate this milestone, the agency has produced a neat “data sonification” of the road to 5,000 exoplanets. Sonification is the use of non-speech audio to represent information. 

The first exoplanets were discovered in the early 90s, but they’re not the kind of planets you’re probably expecting. They’re more like charred husks tethered to a millisecond pulsar, a type of dead star that blasts out radiation like a rapidly spinning lighthouse. Throughout the 90s and early 2000s, telescopes spotted a few hundred exoplanets, but it wasn’t until the launch of the Kepler Space Telescope that things got cooking. 

NASA’s sonication begins in 1991 prior to the first exoplanet confirmations. Each time a new planet enters the catalog, there’s a chime and the counters at the top advance. It shows not only the approximate location of the exoplanet in the sky (using the central band of the Milky Way as a guide) but the types of detection. Early on, the detections are mostly from radial velocity, a technique that scans for minute wobbles in a star caused by the mass of orbiting planets. After Kepler, transits take over in a big way.   .... '

Amazon Acquires MGM

News to me, would seem to lead to less creativity.  The native streamers are very non creative.

MGM’s Amazon Era Begins With Big, Unanswered Questions  by Alex Weprin

As the $8.5 billion deal closes, insiders debate how autonomous MGM operations may be, how quickly Amazon will mine its IP and how soon its vaunted library will make its way to Prime Video.  by Alex Weprin

In the summer of 1981, MGM coveted Rocky and James Bond. The studio, formed in 1924 through the merger of Metro Pictures Corp., Goldwyn Pictures and Louis B. Mayer Productions, had an eye for expansion. And it liked what it saw in the intellectual property of United Artists. UA, a Hollywood icon itself, was behind films like Some Like It Hot, Raging Bull, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and, yes, the Rocky movies and the Bond franchise.

So MGM acquired UA, and its films, for some $380 million ($1.2 billion adjusted for inflation), with Frank Rosenfelt, MGM’s chairman, telling The Washington Post at the time that UA’s library would be critical as Hollywood transitioned “from the movie business to the entertainment software business.”  ... '

Maintaining Neural Networks

 Models will degrade, how do you maintain them?  

Researchers Discover How to Predict Degradation of Neural Network

DiariDigital URV Activ@, February 16, 2022

Researchers at Spain's Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV) have identified the theoretical underpinnings for predicting how neural networks will function and degrade over time. These findings indicate how much damage a system can endure before it will completely degrade and lose its functionality, known as the phase transition of percolation degradation. URV's Alex Arenas said, "We have been able to find this transition and we have also been able to calculate the homeostatic response [i.e., the ability to find alternatives and continue functioning] of the network." He added that a set of mathematical tools "that can be very useful not only in neuroscience but in any type of network" is now available to the scientific community.  ... ' 

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Russian Drones Emerge

 No claims made for Russian drone use and integrated AI capabilities.    Currently reading Henry Kissinger et al's   2021 book: "The Age of AI and Our Human Future".  which talks AI and military applications, and how it fits with the current security and world order,

Russia's Killer Drone in Ukraine Raises Fears About AI in Warfare, By Wired, March 23, 2022

A Russian "suicide drone" that boasts the ability to identify targets using artificial intelligence has been spotted in images of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Photographs showing what appears to be the KUB-BLA, a type of lethal drone known as a "loitering munition" sold by ZALA Aero, a subsidiary of the Russian arms company Kalashnikov, have appeared on Telegram and Twitter in recent days. The pictures show damaged drones that appear to have either crashed or been shot down.

With a wingspan of 1.2 meters, the sleek white drone resembles a small pilotless fighter jet. It is fired from a portable launch, can travel up to 130 kilometers per hour for 30 minutes, and deliberately crashes into a target, detonating a 3-kilo explosive.

ZALA Aero, which first demoed the KUB-BLA at a Russian air show in 2019, claims in promotional material that it features "intelligent detection and recognition of objects by class and type in real time."  .... '

Advances in AI have made it easier to incorporate autonomy into weapons systems, and have raised the prospect that more capable systems could eventually decide for themselves who to kill.  .... '

In Wired. 

Is a Warp Drive Possible?

Possible? Outrageous?   Or does the science say we can exceed the speed of light if we just don't accelerate though it from a speed below it?  The speed of light as a barrier?  Technical. 

Warp Drive News. Seriously!   By Sabine Hossenfelder,  441K subscribers

You can help finance my videos by supporting me on Patreon:


What is a warp drive? Are they scientifically possible? How does the Alcubierre drive work? That's what we talk about today.

The paper has now been published here:  https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10...

An open-access version is here:  https://arxiv.org/pdf/2102.06824.pdf

You can find more information about the authors' work here:


When I talk about energy conservation around 7 mins, I am NOT referring to the conservation of the stress-energy-tensor. This is conservation is always fulfilled if Einstein's field equations are fulfilled by way of the (contracted) Bianchi identities. I am talking about the conservation of the four-momentum (the integrated quantity) that is associated with the warp-drive bubble. In an asymptotically flat space-time, it should be conserved. If the bubble accelerates, it isn't. (As you'd expect.)

#physics #space #science

0:00 Intro and Motivation

0:46 What is a Warp Drive?

2:47 The Alcubierre Drive

3:54 General Relativity Background

6:09 The Problem with the Alcubierre Drive

7:26 New Paper

9:37 What the new paper may be good for ... 

MITR Examines Attack Threat Techniques

 In the past worked with Mitre corp to support US Defense systems, here they offer a white paper on threat detection and related practical use cases.  

Using MITRE ATT&CK™ Techniques in Threat Hunting and Detection

A Preface to the MITRE ATT&CK™ Framework and Practical Use Cases

Prioritizing Threats

How do you prioritize the many threats to your organization? How do you address them with the tools you already have?

MITRE ATT&CK Framework

MITRE ATT&CK, an open framework and knowledge base of adversary tactics and techniques based on real-world observations, provides a structured method to help you answer these questions.

Understand Your Adversaries 

ATT&CK is a powerful way to classify and study adversary techniques and understand their intent. You can use it to enhance, analyze, and test your threat hunting and detection efforts.

What You Will Learn in This Whitepaper: 

The structure of ATT&CK, comprising tactics, techniques, examples, mitigation, and detection

How to use ATT&CK to assess, enhance, and test your monitoring, threat detection, and threat hunting efforts How to apply five common MITRE ATT&CK techniques in your threat detection and hunting practice

What Northrop Grumman is Doing with Quantum Tech

What Northrop is doing in the space: 

Disruptive Concepts and Technologies: Quantum Technology  By Kelly McSweeney (intro below) 

Second wave of quantum technology is on the way. Quantum mechanics was discovered a century ago, eventually leading to everyday technologies such as lasers and semiconductor electronics. But we still haven’t taken full advantage of its more remarkable effects, such as “distributed entanglement,” a phenomenon in which objects are inextricably linked, even when physically separated over large distances.

Until recently, the more exotic effects of quantum physics were limited to academic experiments. “Now, people are diving deeper and looking to exploit the really strange things at the roots of quantum physics,” says Dr. Ben Burnett, Lead Quantum Networking Architect.

Dr. Burnett leads a research team within Northrop Grumman’s Disruptive Concepts and Technologies (DC&T) organization that’s incorporating emerging developments in the quantum technology field to provide capabilities not found in the realm of classical physics. DC&T’s charter is to understand emerging and potentially disruptive technologies, such as those arising within the burgeoning field of quantum information science. DC&T’s work with quantum networking spans multiple time horizons, to include preparing for the most disruptive technologies arising from interconnected and networked quantum systems – many of which haven’t even been invented yet.  ... ' 

Teradata Tests it's Cloud

Have no heard from this direction of late.

Teradata Puts New Cloud Architecture to the 1,000-Node Test  By Alex Woodie

Teradata says the recent 1,000-node test that it ran on AWS not only shows the scale that its new cloud architecture can achieve, but also demonstrates the analytic flexibility required by its new target market, the Global 10,000.

Teradata is a company on the move, and it’s moving both in terms of what it makes and whom it makes it for. It’s no longer developing tightly coupled, on-prem data warehouses for the largest corporations in the world. Instead, it’s creating de-coupled analytic software that runs anywhere–on prem, in the cloud, or in multiple clouds–and its market has widened considerably, from the Fortune 500 to the Global 10,000.

This background is important to understand why the Teradata Innovation Lab spent the time to take Teradata Vantage (the name of its cloud-based offering) for a 1,000-node spin. According to Teradata Chief Product Officer Hillary Ashton, the AWS cluster was more than twice as big as any production cluster run by a Teradata customer.

“We have some of the largest customers on-premises on the planet, so I think it’s a really great indication of where we’re heading in the future,” Ashton told Datanami. “Obviously it gives our large enterprise customers the comfort that our future is big enough for the largest enterprise workloads.”

The test, which took about four weeks to run and was announced one week ago, utilized 100 TB of data and simulated thousands of concurrent SQL queries submitted by more than 1,000 simulated users. The workload itself was a mix of quick-hitting operational queries that demanded fast response times, as well as more complex and longer-running decision support system (DSS) queries.

There are some details of the test missing, including the specific EC2 instance types that were used (Teradata says there were two types used), and the total cost of the system. The company says it will share more details in a white paper that will be published in a couple of weeks. But don’t expect pricing information, as this test was never intended to be a public price-performance benchmark. .....'

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

TopQuadrant: Data Fabric Management Webinar

Had to miss this one, of particular interest, worked with TopQuadrant

 ... Sorry that you were not able to attend our recent webinar: " How Metadata Management Must Evolve to Support Data Fabric".

The recording and slides from the webinar are available here: https://www.topquadrant.com/how-metadata-management-must-evolve-to-support-data-fabric/.

Should you have any follow-up questions or would like to explore all of the capabilities in TopBraid EDG (http://www.topquadrant.com/products/topbraid-enterprise-data-governance/) in more detail please contact us at edg-info@topquadrant.com ... '

Evading Sanctions with Crypto?

As was mentioned to me by my DC connections, their concern is that  Crypto evade such government attempts?  Below the intro to a longer article

Russians are using crypto to evade sanctions — but it’s not just the elite in Thenextweb

Is investing in crypto really going to help Russians?

Fearing Russia’s elite will evade economic sanctions by converting their wealth to cryptocurrency, high-profile US Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren has introduced a bill into US Congress to stymie Russian crypto transactions.

Warren warned a Senate committee hearing:  So no one can argue that Russia can evade all sanctions by moving all its assets into crypto. But for Putin’s oligarchs who are trying to hide, you know, a billion or two of their wealth, crypto looks like a pretty good option.

The bill does not seek to impose a blanket ban on all Russian cryptocurrency transactions. But it would give the US government the authority to ban US companies from processing cryptocurrency transactions connected to sanctioned Russian accounts and to apply secondary sanctions to foreign cryptocurrency exchanges doing business with sanctioned Russian individuals, companies, or government agencies.

But is it even necessary?

Even though the evidence shows that Russian cryptocurrency transactions have been increasing in both number and value in the past month, the scale suggests buyers are ordinary Russians seeking to hold on to their savings as the value of the ruble crashes.

Targeting sanctions

The economic sanctions imposed on Russia for invading Ukraine are naturally hurting the entire Russian economy. Their intended target, though, is to hit Putin and the billionaire oligarchs who support his rule where it hurts most.  A cornerstone of this strategy is stopping these individuals from using or moving their wealth around by freezing the assets they hold overseas and blocking financial transactions.

But the continued operation of cryptocurrency exchanges in Russia, such as Binance, Yobit, and Local Bitcoins, has been worrying US officials for some time. Even before Russia’s latest invasion of Ukraine, the US Treasury Department warned cryptocurrencies could undermine the sanctions already imposed on Russia over its 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Ruble’s falling value

Our first graph below shows why ordinary Russians have good reasons to buy cryptocurrency. Since the February 24 invasion of Ukraine, the ruble’s value against the US dollar has fallen by as much as 40%, from $US1 being worth 76 rubles to 132 rubles. At the time of publication, $US1 was worth about 109 rubles.

The ruble falls off a cliff  .... ' 

Time Mag Releases an Issue as an NFT

Further possibilities for the blockchain enabled non-fungible token (NFT).     Besides the demo, not seeing the actual need.   But it seems it can be done.

Time Releases Full Magazine Issue as NFT on the Blockchain

Time, March 18, 2022

Time magazine will publish the first fully decentralized magazine issue, available on March 23 as a non-fungible token (NFT) on the blockchain. Created in partnership with LITDAO, a Web3 cultural currency and NFT project, the issue will be hosted through a decentralized protocol, with readers accessing the magazine through an interactive NFT. With support from the global Internet finance firm Circle, the issue, which will feature a cover story on Ethereum's Vitalik Buterin, will be airdropped to certain TIMEPiece and genesis LIT community wallet holders. "As Time continues to push the boundaries as to what is possible within the Web3 ecosystem, producing the first-ever full magazine on the blockchain seemed like a natural extension for our brand, and we knew this issue, in particular, would be cherished by our community," said Time's Keith A. Grossman. ... ' 

In Need of Dumb-Phones?

 I don't think this will become common, too much  attention is payed to Apps and upgrades, but the point is made. 

Not smart but clever? The return of 'dumbphones'

By Suzanne Bearne, Business reporter in the BBC

Seventeen-year-old Robin West is an anomaly among her peers - she doesn't have a smartphone.

Instead of scrolling through apps like TikTok and Instagram all day, she uses a so-called "dumbphone".

These are basic handsets, or feature phones, with very limited functionality compared to say an iPhone. You can typically only make and receive calls and SMS text messages. And, if you are lucky - listen to radio and take very basic photos, but definitely not connect to the internet or apps.

These devices are similar to some of the first handsets that people bought back in the late 1990s. Two phones pictured in 2005, two years before Apple released its first iPhone, and 11 years before TikTok

Ms West's decision to ditch her former smartphone two years ago was a spur of the moment thing. While looking for a replacement handset in a second-hand shop she was lured by the low price of a "brick phone".

Her current handset, from French firm MobiWire, cost her just £8. And because it has no smartphone functionality she doesn't have an expensive monthly data bill to worry about.  "I didn't notice until I bought a brick phone how much a smartphone was taking over my life," she says. "I had a lot of social media apps on it, and I didn't get as much work done as I was always on my phone."

The Londoner adds that she doesn't think she'll ever buy another smartphone. "I'm happy with my brick - I don't think it limits me. I'm definitely more proactive."  .... ' 

AI-driven Operations Forecasting in Data-light Environments

 Integrating accurate forecasting is essential.

AI-driven operations forecasting in data-light environments

For better forecasting in operations management, AI is proving essential. And limited data is no longer the barrier it once was.

Sent from McKinsey Insights, available in the App Store and Play Store.

AI-driven operations forecasting in data-light environments    February 15, 2022  

By Jorge Amar, Sohrab Rahimi, Zachary Surak, and Nicolai von Bismarck

Too many companies still rely on manual forecasting because they think AI requires better-quality data than they have available. Nowadays, that’s a costly mistake.

What do internal functions as diverse as risk assessment, capital-expenditure planning, and workforce planning have in common? Each is fundamentally about understanding demand—making demand forecasting an essential analytical process. Amid rising pressure to increase forecasting accuracy, more companies have come to rely on AI algorithms, which have become increasingly sophisticated in learning from historical patterns.

AI models have clear advantages over traditional spreadsheet-based analytic methods. Applying AI-driven forecasting to supply chain management, for example, can reduce errors by between 20 and 50 percent—and translate into a reduction in lost sales and product unavailability of up to 65 percent. Continuing the virtuous circle, warehousing costs can fall by 5 to 10 percent, and administration costs by 25 to 40 percent. Companies in the telecommunications, electric power, natural gas, and healthcare industries have found that AI forecasting engines can automate up to 50 percent of workforce-management tasks, leading to cost reductions of 10 to 15 percent while gradually improving hiring decisions—and operational resilience  (Exhibit 1).  .... 

Enabling AI-driven forecast models

We strive to provide individuals with disabilities equal access to our website. If you would like information about this content we will be happy to work with you. Please email us at: McKinsey_Website_Accessibility@mckinsey.com

Automated AI-driven forecasting promotes these benefits by consuming real-time data and continuously identifying new patterns. This capacity enables fast, agile actions because the model anticipates demand changes rather than just responding to them. In contrast, traditional approaches to demand forecasting require constant manual updating of data and adjustments to forecast outputs. These interventions are typically time-consuming and do not allow for agile responses to immediate changes in demand patterns.  ....' 

Monday, March 21, 2022

Using Synthetic Data

Synthetic data training from real data.

When It Comes to AI, Can We Ditch the Datasets?

MIT News, Adam Zewe, March 15, 2022

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have demonstrated the use of a generative machine-learning model to produce synthetic data, based on real data, to train another model for image classification. Researchers showed the generative model millions of images containing objects in a specific class, after which it learned those objects' appearance in order to generate similar objects. MIT's Ali Jahanian said generative models also learn how to transform underlying training data, and connecting a pretrained generative model to a contrastive learning model enabled both models to work together automatically. The results show that a contrastive representation learning model trained only on synthetic data can learn visual representations that rival or top those learned from real data. In analyzing how the number of samples influenced the model's performance, researchers determined that, in some cases, generating larger numbers of unique samples facilitated additional enhancements.  ... ' 

Fast Doglike Robotics

Faster tracking surveillance? Note its training abilities. 

 Mini Cheetah Runs

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have designed a new version of the Mini Cheetah robot that can achieve high running speeds more efficiently than its predecessors.

The robot learns in real time through an experiential model, and is capable of absorbing 100 days' worth of experience on diverse terrains in three hours by training its neural network in a simulator.

"The intuition behind why the robot's running skills work well in the real world is: of all the environments it sees in this simulator, some will teach the robot skills that are useful in the real world," said MIT's Gabriel Margolis and Ge Yang.

"When operating in the real world, our controller identifies and executes the relevant skills in real time."

From ZDNet   View Full Article  

Hovermap for liDAR Innovation

Mapping with Lidar

LiDAR News by Gene Roe   

February 8, 2022 Leave a comment

Hovermap Wins Geo Week’s LiDAR Leader Outstanding Innovation Award

Emesent is proud to have their Hovermap LiDAR mapping and autonomy payload announced as the winner of the Geo Week LiDAR Leader Award for Outstanding Innovation.

“We’re honored to be recognized as an innovative leader in geospatial LiDAR technology,” said Dr Stefan Hrabar, Emesent CEO and Co-Founder.

Announced at the Geo Week Conference in Denver today (February 7, 2022), the LiDAR Leader Awards honor the achievements of individuals and teams working in the geospatial technology space. The Outstanding Innovation in LiDAR Award highlights excellence in innovations in this space.

“Having first launched Hovermap at Geo Week in 2019, our team is extremely proud to be acknowledged for the advances we’ve made in LiDAR-based SLAM mapping and autonomy since the launch. It’s been amazing to see the value our customers have enjoyed from scanning hazardous, GPS-denied environments that were previously inaccessible,” said Dr Hrabar.

Hovermap’s high quality, high resolution, colorized point clouds have enabled customers to derive new insights in mining, architecture, construction, engineering, forestry, and other verticals.

Hovermap was recognized for its advanced autonomy and mapping capabilities. When mounted on a drone, it provides safe, autonomous, beyond line of sight flight in challenging areas even without GPS.

Another key feature considered was Hovermap’s versatility. The plug and play capability allows users to easily detach it from a drone to perform walking, vehicle-mounted, or ground robot- based scans. This allows mapping practically any indoor or outdoor area quickly and easily. .... ' 

Battery Free Device Can Float Sensors Like a Dandelion

Quite interesting Bio Mimicry. 

Battery-free Devices Float on the Wind like Dandelion Seeds

By University of Washington News, March 18, 2022

University of Washington (UW) researchers have developed a tiny battery-free device that can be blown by wind currents, like dandelion seeds.

The sensor-conveying devices can travel up to 100 meters (roughly 328 feet).

Once they land, solar panels power their electronics, which can share sensor data wirelessly up to 60 meters (196 feet) away via backscattering.. The devices feature bristles that bend inward, while a ring structure adds stiffness and slows their descent.

"Our prototype suggests that you could use a drone to release thousands of these devices in a single drop," said UW's Shyam Gollakota.

"They'll all be carried by the wind a little differently, and basically you can create a 1,000-device network with this one drop."

From University of Washington News      View Full Article 

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Ransomware Gangs Helping Putin?

Conti Ransomware Gang Helping Putin?  Became more aware of software as a governmental weapon.  Some indications hints and here. 

Leaked Ransomware Docs Show Conti Helping Putin From the Shadows  By Wired, March 18, 2022

While evidence of Conti’s direct ties to the Russian government remains elusive, the gang’s activities continue to fall in line with Russian national interests.  ... 

For years, Russia's cybercrime groups have acted with relative impunity. The Kremlin and local law enforcement have largely turned a blind eye to disruptive ransomware attacks as long as they didn't target Russian companies. Despite direct pressure on Vladimir Putin to tackle ransomware groups, they're still intimately tied to Russia's interests. A recent leak from one of the most notorious such groups provides a glimpse into the nature of those ties—and just how tenuous they may be.

A cache of 60,000 leaked chat messages and files from the notorious Conti ransomware group provides glimpses of how the criminal gang is well connected within Russia. The documents, reviewed by WIRED and first published online at the end of February by an anonymous Ukrainian cybersecurity researcher who infiltrated the group, show how Conti operates on a daily basis and its crypto ambitions. They likely further reveal how Conti members have connections to the Federal Security Service (FSB) and an acute awareness of the operations of Russia's government-backed military hackers.

As the world was struggling to come to grips with the Covid-19 pandemic's outbreak and early waves in July 2020, cybercriminals around the world turned their attention to the health crisis. On July 16 of that year, the governments of the UK, US, and Canada publicly called out Russia's state-backed military hackers for trying to steal intellectual property related to the earliest vaccine candidates. The hacking group Cozy Bear, also known as Advanced Persistent Threat 29 (APT29), was attacking pharma businesses and universities using altered malware and known vulnerabilities, the three governments said.

From Wired   View Full Article 

Microsoft and PeopleLens

Fascinating direction, and natural for Msoft's work in AR capabilities. 

Microsoft Research Blog

PeopleLens: Using AI to support social interaction between children who are blind and their peers

Published March 14, 2022

By Cecily Morrison , Principal Research Manager  Katherine Jones , PhD student  Martin Grayson , Principal Research Software Development Engineer  Ed Cutrell , Sr. Principal Research Manager

The PeopleLens is a new research technology designed to help people who are blind or have low vision better understand their immediate social environments by locating and identifying people in the space. Coupled with a scheme of work based on research and practices from psychology and speech and language therapy, the system can help children and young people who are blind more easily forge social connections with their peers.

For children born blind, social interaction can be particularly challenging. A child may have difficulty aiming their voice at the person they’re talking to and put their head on their desk instead. Linguistically advanced young people may struggle with maintaining a topic of conversation, talking only about something of interest to them. Most noticeably, many children and young people who are blind struggle with engaging and befriending those in their age group despite a strong desire to do so. This is often deeply frustrating for the child or young person and can be equally so for their support network of family members and teachers who want to help them forge these important connections.



The PeopleLens is a new research technology that we’ve created to help young people who are blind (referred to as learners in our work) and their peers interact more easily. A head-worn device, the PeopleLens reads aloud in spatialized audio the names of known individuals when the learner looks at them. That means the sound comes from the direction of the person, assisting the learner in understanding both the relative position and distance of their peers. The PeopleLens helps learners build a People Map, a mental map of those around them needed to effectively signal communicative intent. The technology, in turn, indicates to the learner’s peers when the peers have been “seen” and can interact—a replacement for the eye contact that usually initiates interaction between people.   ... ' 

AI Needs to Selectively Forget

We discovered his early on as we had to effectively maintain models.

Can AI Learn to Forget?     By Samuel Greengard  in the CACM

Communications of the ACM, April 2022, Vol. 65 No. 4, Pages 9-11   10.1145/3516514

Machine learning has emerged as a valuable tool for spotting patterns and trends that might otherwise escape humans. The technology, which can build elaborate models based on everything from personal preferences to facial recognition, is used widely to understand behavior, spot patterns and trends, and make informed predictions.

Yet for all the gains, there is also plenty of pain. A major problem associated with machine learning is that once an algorithm or model exists, expunging individual records or chunks of data is extraordinarily difficult. In most cases, it is necessary to retrain the entire model—sometimes with no assurance that that model will not continue to incorporate the suspect data in some way, says Gautam Kamath, an assistant professor in the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo in Canada.

The data in question may originate from system logs, images, health records, social media sites, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, legacy databases, and myriad other places. As right to be forgotten mandates appear, fueled by the European Union's General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), organizations find themselves coping with potential minefields, including significant compliance penalties.

Not surprisingly, completely retraining models is an expensive and time-consuming process, one that may or may not address the underlying problem of making sensitive data disappear or become completely untraceable. What's more, there frequently is no way to demonstrate the retrained model has been fully corrected, and that it is entirely accurate and valid.

Enter machine unlearning. Using specialized techniques—including slicing databases into smaller chunks and adapting algorithms—it may be possible to induce selective 'amnesia' in machine learning models. The field is only beginning to take shape. "The goal is to find a way to rebuild models on the fly, rather than having to build an entirely new model every time the data changes," says Aaron Roth, a professor of computer and information science at the University of Pennsylvania.  ... ' 

Amazon Gets more Biometric Capabilities,

 Interesting, don't consider this as ominous as is being implied here.  Scare quotes alerting you.   If it works to make people safer,  expect this to happen. 

In the Future, Amazon's Ring Doorbell Might Use Biometric Data to Surveil Neighborhoods

The company has been awarded patents for using smell and skin texture to identify a "suspicious" person.

By Florence Ion  12/16/21 8:15PM  in Gizmodo

I’ve always wondered when smell-o-vision would make its debut in the gadget world, but I didn’t imagine that Amazon would be the company to make it happen. Given that fact, you might not be surprised to learn that its actual implementation sounds a little problematic, to say the least.

The company filed patents that suggest detecting a person by smell is a future possibility for its doorbell cameras. But that’s not even the extent of it. The Ring doorbells could also scan to identify “suspicious” people based on their skin texture, the way they walk, and their voice. What could possibly go wrong?

The discovery comes from Insider, which looked through more than a dozen patents recently awarded to Amazon. They found that altogether, the patents outline a network of weirdly sophisticated surveillance that sounds not at all terrifying.

One Ring patent, filed and awarded in the U.S., is titled “Neighborhood Alert Mode.” At its core, it’s essentially community surveillance, with a dash of suburbanites-complaining-on-Nextdoor energy. Instead of your neighbor typing out a loaded post describing a person they deem to be a threat to the neighorhood—because what could go wrong there?—all they have to do is share a picture or video of someone they decide is suspicious to other Neighborhood users within the vicinity. Ring will then prompt other video doorbells within the network to start recording the so-called suspicious person, even if they don’t approach the front door. ...  ' 

Saturday, March 19, 2022

On 3D Chip Tech: Stacking Chips

 Intro to the tech and how it is evolving.

3 Ways 3D Chip Tech Is Upending Computing AMD, Graphcore, and Intel show why the industry’s leading edge is going vertical    SAMUEL K. MOORE16 MAR 2022  in IEEE Spectrum

 A crop of high-performance processors is showing that the new direction for continuing Moore’s Law is all about up. Each generation of processor needs to perform better than the last, and, at its most basic, that means integrating more logic onto the silicon. But there are two problems: One is that our ability to shrink transistors and the logic and memory blocks they make up is slowing down. The other is that chips have reached their size limits. Photolithography tools can pattern only an area of about 850 square millimeters, which is about the size of a top-of-the-line Nvidia GPU.

For a few years now, developers of systems-on-chips have begun to break up their ever-larger designs into smaller chiplets and link them together inside the same package to effectively increase the silicon area, among other advantages. In CPUs, these links have mostly been so-called 2.5D, where the chiplets are set beside each other and connected using short, dense interconnects. Momentum for this type of integration will likely only grow now that most of the major manufacturers have agreed on a 2.5D chiplet-to-chiplet communications standard.

But to sling truly huge volumes of data around as if it were all on the same chip, you need even shorter and denser connections, and that can be done only by stacking one chip atop another. Connecting two chips face-to-face can mean making thousands of connections per square millimeter.

It’s taken a lot of innovation to get it to work. Engineers had to figure out how to keep heat from one chip in the stack from killing the other, decide what functions should go where and how they should be manufactured, keep the occasional bad chiplet from leading to a lot of costly dud systems, and deal with the resulting added complexities of figuring all that out at once.

Here are three examples, ranging from the reasonably straightforward to the confoundingly complicated, that show where 3D stacking is now:  .... ' 

Robot Arm Advances for Human Proximity Tasks

Fraunhofer at the Hannover Messe Preview 2022

Safe and powerful robotics for near-human tasks

Research News / March 16, 2022

Robots mowing lawns is a form of robotic assistance to which society has gotten used. But there are currently few concepts for robotic assistance in other tasks, which involve close proximity to humans, like housekeeping and care. The Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU uses innovative switchable stiffnesses in robots to combine the required strength with the necessary safety. At the Hannover Messe Preview on March 16, 2022 and at the Hannover Messe from May 30 to June 2, 2022, the researchers will be presenting a robot arm that could facilitate the support of people in their direct surroundings.   .... ' 

Consider AI Worst Case

AI’s 6 Worst-Case Scenarios.  Who needs Terminators when you have precision clickbait and ultra-deepfakes?   By NATASHA BAJEMA in IEEE Expert

 HOLLYWOOD’S WORST-CASE scenario involving artificial intelligence (AI) is familiar as a blockbuster sci-fi film: Machines acquire humanlike intelligence, achieving sentience, and inevitably turn into evil overlords that attempt to destroy the human race. This narrative capitalizes on our innate fear of technology, a reflection of the profound change that often accompanies new technological developments.

However, as Malcolm Murdock, machine-learning engineer and author of the 2019 novel The Quantum Price, puts it, “AI doesn’t have to be sentient to kill us all. There are plenty of other scenarios that will wipe us out before sentient AI becomes a problem.”

“We are entering dangerous and uncharted territory with the rise of surveillance and tracking through data, and we have almost no understanding of the potential implications.”

—Andrew Lohn, Georgetown University

In interviews with AI experts, IEEE Spectrum has uncovered six real-world AI worst-case scenarios that are far more mundane than those depicted in the movies. But they’re no less dystopian. And most don’t require a malevolent dictator to bring them to full fruition. Rather, they could simply happen by default, unfolding organically—that is, if nothing is done to stop them. To prevent these worst-case scenarios, we must abandon our pop-culture notions of AI and get serious about its unintended consequences.

1. When Fiction Defines Our Reality…

Unnecessary tragedy may strike if we allow fiction to define our reality. But what choice is there when we can’t tell the difference between what is real and what is false in the digital world?

In a terrifying scenario, the rise of deepfakes—fake images, video, audio, and text generated with advanced machine-learning tools—may someday lead national-security decision-makers to take real-world action based on false information, leading to a major crisis, or worse yet, a war.  .... ' 

The Brain Rotates Memories

How might we utilize this this? Beyond just tagging memories with a time stamp?

The Brain ‘Rotates’ Memories to Save Them From New Sensations  By Jordana Cepelewicz,  Senior Writer, Quanta Magazine

Some populations of neurons simultaneously process sensations and memories. New work shows how the brain rotates those representations to prevent interference.

During every waking moment, we humans and other animals have to balance on the edge of our awareness of past and present. We must absorb new sensory information about the world around us while holding on to short-term memories of earlier observations or events. Our ability to make sense of our surroundings, to learn, to act and to think all depend on constant, nimble interactions between perception and memory.

But to accomplish this, the brain has to keep the two distinct; otherwise, incoming data streams could interfere with representations of previous stimuli and cause us to overwrite or misinterpret important contextual information. Compounding that challenge, a body of research hints that the brain does not neatly partition short-term memory function exclusively into higher cognitive areas like the prefrontal cortex. Instead, the sensory regions and other lower cortical centers that detect and represent experiences may also encode and store memories of them. And yet those memories can’t be allowed to intrude on our perception of the present, or to be randomly rewritten by new experiences.

A paper published recently in Nature Neuroscience  may finally explain how the brain’s protective buffer works. A pair of researchers showed that, to represent current and past stimuli simultaneously without mutual interference, the brain essentially “rotates” sensory information to encode it as a memory. The two orthogonal representations can then draw from overlapping neural activity without intruding on each other. The details of this mechanism may help to resolve several long-standing debates about memory processing.  ...'