Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Music of the 8 legged kind :)

Yours truly likes spiders, the 8 legged assassins possessing infinite ways to catch prey along with the ability to spin webs with astounding variation. Seems MIT researchers have now linked sound to the strands of webs via 3D scans that Stockhausen would approve of without question.

Raison d'été for said exercise ...

Music of the 8 legged kind indeed. :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Less is more

This book indirectly reminds yours truly of Dizzie Gillispie, a giant of jazz, funny, brilliant and above all else, perceptive to the max as his immortal quote, Less is more, should be the mantra for designers in all disciplines as editing to the correct minimum in creating something significant is hard as one has to add before subtracting, something yours truly has strived to do over many years as designer and fine artist.

The extra thinking was not in vain. When it came time to fund the construction of Orff’s winning design, her plan to subtract paid off. The plan quickly attracted more than $20 million in federal grants, $7 million from the state of Kentucky, and $12 million from local sources. With funding secured, Lexington’s physical transformation commenced in early 2020.

Less is more indeed.

Problem solving ...

XI's never satisfied. Hong Kong is but a servant state and Taiwan's next as it's a problem needing to be solved as quickly as possible in China's push to dominate the world. WWIII looms if China makes the move as Taiwan is vital to US interests due to her tech prowess and the dependence the US has on said tech. Disquieting without question.

Problem solving indeed.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Out, out, brief candle!

A naked mole rat is pictured at the University of Rochester January 31, 2018. J. Adam Fenster/University of Rochester

The poster child for longevity is the naked mole rat as said rodent, unlike his above ground cousins, lives for 30+ years due to unique body chemistry researchers are trying to leverage in order to increase the life spans of us rubes.

Gorbunova traces much of the hardiness of the mole rats to an abundance of hyaluronic acid, a major component of skin that is involved in tissue regeneration. Although mice and humans also have hyaluronic acid, the tissues of naked mole rats are "saturated with it," says Gorbunova. In addition to having strong antioxidant properties, and others that seem to attenuate the destructive consequences of the chronic, widespread inflammation that often accumulates with age, the abundance of hyaluronan also seems to prevent the growth of malignant cancer cells.

"Hyaluronan is a very nice story because we can see the possibility of translating it to humans," Gorbunova says. "We have it, but we don't have a lot of it, so I think there is room for improvement. We can find ways to increase our own levels of hyaluronan."

It gets better

To Gorbunova, the differences between the mouse and naked mole rat are easily explained by evolution—their respective adaptations are geared toward increasing their chances of reproductive success. "For a mouse, the best strategy to have more progeny is to be very, very prolific very quickly because then somebody's going to eat it, and it just doesn't have a chance to live longer," she explains. "The naked mole rat lives underground and has very few predators. And they breed until very late in life. So they would evolve the mechanism to allow them to live longer and to breathe as long as possible just because they can. No one is there to eat them. And the longer they live the more progeny they have."

Billions are being spent to find the fountain of youth using age and not disease as start point as aging leads to diseases like cancer and cardiovascular without question.

The same logic applies to humans—and it also explains why our bodies fall apart. Diseases of aging, many gerontologists now argue, are the natural consequence of the advances in modern lifespan, which now extends decades past reproductive age, and thus has not been subject to the same exquisitely efficient evolutionary sculpting that might increase our odds of surviving them. "If you put this work in an evolutionary perspective, we were not supposed to live that long," says Gerard Karsenty, who chairs the Department of Genetics and Development at Columbia University Medical Center. "Aging is an invention of mankind. No animal species has successfully cheated its own body—cheated nature—except mankind. Elephants may live for 100 years but they lived for 100 years a million years ago. Humans have outsmarted their own body."

Truer words never spoken. Read the detailed Newsweek piece to see why this statement rings true. 

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,

To the last syllable of recorded time;

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.


Saturday, April 10, 2021

It takes just one ...

Writing code is black/white. It either works or it doesn't yet, at the same time, very few software programs are perfect in terms of being secure, a fact that becomes an irresistible draw to hackers finding and exploiting just one flaw residing in the target software in question in order to gain access to systems of all kinds as no internet environment is invulnerable as seen by successful cyberattacks conducted agains the US over the past few years, something most disquieting even though the specter of AI, the open ended tech we no longer know how it actually works looms, a digital/analogue construct rapidly evolving beyond our ability to control in any way, shape or fashion.

It would take only one flaw. In billions of lines of code, one flaw — and the banking system, power grid, Pentagon, air traffic control system, hospitals, and the world’s logistics can all be taken down. And the effort may already be underway.

The internet was never built with security in mind. According to our guest in this week’s WhoWhatwhy podcast — New York Times cybersecurity correspondent Nicole Perlroth, the author of This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends — it was originally thought that at most a couple hundred computers would be connected to the internet.

Today the world is totally interconnected, from our cars and refrigerators to our nuclear reactors and air traffic control systems. So we have good reason to be afraid, very afraid.

We get a picture of how Russian hackers, using our privacy laws against us, set up shop in New Jersey.

Perlroth details a bizarre sign of the times — a company openly operating in the international business of buying and selling security flaws, which are called “zero days” — and why any hacker who discovers such flaws can make millions in the global marketplace. This is the new international arms trade.

And if all of this isn’t scary enough, if knowing that all of your passwords have already been hacked doesn’t make you paranoid, the coming AI revolution will set all of this on steroids.

We have been warned. 

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Double Entendre ...

Wally Not Remotely Working - Dilbert by Scott Adams 

Something's afoot ...

New physics might be in play as the decay of the "beloved" muon, a very heavy cousin of the electron, differs slightly from Standard Model findings, a result, if proven to be true, may point the way to finally finding out what dark matter is actually made of.

How awesome is that?

The experiment ...

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Feedback Loops

bolt of lightning

The Arcic's doing a slow broil. How do we know this? it's because of lightning strikes and the incursion of shrubs in the tundra driven by the loss of albedo as the remaining ice in the Arctic rapidly melts  away thanks to global warming.

THE ARCTIC ISN’T doing so hot. That’s because it is, in fact, too hot. Its warming at least twice as fast as the rest of the planet, which is setting off vicious feedback loops that accelerate change. Ice, for instance, is more reflective than soil, so when it melts, the region absorbs more solar energy. More dark vegetation is growing in northern lands, absorbing still more of the sun’s heat. And when permafrost thaws, it releases gobs of greenhouse gases, which further warm the climate.

The Arctic has gone so bizarro that lightning—a warm-weather phenomenon most common in the tropics—is now striking near the North Pole. And according to new modeling, the electrical bombardment of the region will only get worse. By the end of the century, the number of lightning strikes across the Arctic could more than double, which may initiate a shocking cascade of knock-on effects—namely, more wildfires and more warming. “The Arctic is a rapidly changing place, and this is an aspect of the transformation that I'm not sure has gotten a whole lot of attention, but it's actually really consequential,” says UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain, who wasn’t involved in the research.


Wildfire burning in the Russian tundra Photograph:Jeffery Kerby

Where warfare's going ...

 Unidentified 'Drones' Are Swarming Navy Destroyers. Here's What We Know

Official U.S. Navy Page / Flickr

Warfare is moving toward drones as they are cheap, lethal, equipped with AI and able to overwhelm traditional forces when produced by the tens of thousands or more as needs warrant. 

Over the course of several days, groups of unidentified aircraft swarmed near and pursued U.S. Navy vessels in July of 2019, triggering an immediate high-level investigation, according to an initial report from The Drive.

In the report, the Navy calls them drones.

Up to six drones flew around the vessels at once in often low-visibility conditions close to Southern California's Channel Islands in a few days. The drones flashed lights, prompting a precautionary security response onboard the warships, according to Navy ship logs obtained by The Drive via a Freedom of Information Act request.

Advanced tech for sure.

The drones themselves stayed in the air for at least 90 minutes, surpassing the capacities of commercially available drones, and flew at least 100 nautical miles, according to one case cited in the report, explaining the locations of ships in view of the aircraft.

The ship's logs suggested the drones could fly at the same speed as U.S. destroyers — moving at 16 knots in low-visibility conditions, which is also considered 1 nautical mile of visibility. The ship deployed an onboard intelligence unit — called a "SNOOPIE" team for Ship Nautical Or Otherwise Photographic Interpretation and Exploration team — to fully document the robotic aircraft.

Incredibly, the next night — July 15 — drones appeared once more later in the evening. The USS Russell documented heavy drone activity, including the mystery vehicles' dropping altitude and moving forward, backward, right, and left.

And this.

KRatos Valkyrie drops drone

One of the U.S. Air Force’s XQ-58A Valkyrie stealthy, affordable unmanned aircraft has, for the first time, released a store from its internal payload bay. The latest test flight, the sixth for the Valkyrie, saw the payload bay doors open for the first time in flight, to drop one of the much smaller ALTIUS-600 drones.

“Successful operation of the internal weapons release system/function along with further aerodynamic envelope increases continues to assert the incredible capability and cost-per-performance value of the low-cost attritable XQ-58A Valkyrie,” Steve Fendley, President of Kratos Unmanned Systems Division, said. “Additionally, this unique and key mission function success adds an exclamation point to the 30-month development of the Valkyrie system by the Kratos and AFRL team, which resulted in a pre-production system with substantial operational capability, not simply a proof-of-concept flight demonstrator.”

Any questions?

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Fair Use ... wins

 Fair Use:

This directly applies to the victory Google won against Oracle regarding APIs (Application Programing Interface) as far use would now be moot if Oracle and the lawyers won vs the internet and interoperability of code that's changing how civilization does business on planet earth 24/7.

In a win for innovation, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that Google’s use of certain Java Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) is a lawful fair use. In doing so, the Court reversed the previous rulings by the Federal Circuit and recognized that copyright only promotes innovation and creativity when it provides breathing room for those who are building on what has come before. 

This decision gives more legal certainty to software developers’ common practice of using, re-using, and re-implementing software interfaces written by others, a custom that underlies most of the internet and personal computing technologies we use every day.

Why this is important ...

To briefly summarize over ten years of litigation: Oracle claims a copyright on the Java APIs—essentially names and formats for calling computer functions—and claims that Google infringed that copyright by using (reimplementing) certain Java APIs in the Android OS. When it created Android, Google wrote its own set of basic functions similar to Java (its own implementing code). But in order to allow developers to write their own programs for Android, Google used certain specifications of the Java APIs (sometimes called the “declaring code”). 

APIs provide a common language that lets programs talk to each other. They also let programmers operate with a familiar interface, even on a competitive platform. It would strike at the heart of innovation and collaboration to declare them copyrightable. 

What's sad about this is Sun Computer created Java, not Oracle. Oracle bought the code and tried to monetize it to the nth degree.

Fair Use rules, thank god.

Have to add this ...