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Category: Technical

Tiny spy chips were added to almost 30 companies products by Chinese supplier. Including Amazon and Apple.

Tiny spy chips were added to almost 30 companies products by Chinese supplier. Including Amazon and Apple.

Excellent article and something with extraordinary repercussions.

The world’s largest supplier of mothersboards, Supermicro, was caught adding spy chips to silicon they fabed for such companies as Amazon and Apple. All these parts had one thing in common: a Chinese contractor. One of the first cases was caught at Portland’s own Elemental technologies. A 3 year investigation showed almost 30 companies had their hardware infiltrated.

What does the chip do? Basically – it opens everything.

This system could let the attackers alter how the device functioned, line by line, however they wanted, leaving no one the wiser. To understand the power that would give them, take this hypothetical example: Somewhere in the Linux operating system, which runs in many servers, is code that authorizes a user by verifying a typed password against a stored encrypted one. An implanted chip can alter part of that code so the server won’t check for a password—and presto! A secure machine is open to any and all users. A chip can also steal encryption keys for secure communications, block security updates that would neutralize the attack, and open up new pathways to the internet. Should some anomaly be noticed, it would likely be cast as an unexplained oddity.

World’s most powerful magnet

World’s most powerful magnet

The strength of the Earth’s magnetic field is about 30 microtesla. The magnets in an MRI machine clock in at about 3 tesla, and the approximate magnetic field of a white dwarf star is about 100 tesla.

So just think about how powerful this 1,200-tesla magnet created by Shojiro Takeyama and his colleagues at the Institute for Solid State Physics at the University of Tokyo.

To achieve that intensity, Takeyama and his team pump megajoules of energy into a small, precisely engineered electromagnetic coil, the inner lining of which then collapses on itself at Mach 15 — that’s more than 3 miles per second (5 kilometers per second). As it collapses, the magnetic field inside gets squeezed into a tighter and tighter space, until its force peaks at a tesla reading unimaginable in conventional magnets. Fragments of a second later, the coil collapses entirely, destroying itself.

The last time Takeyama switched on his super-strong magnet, it blew out the heavy door of the lab that contained the machinery. Check it out here:

Artistic style transfer for videos and spherical images

Artistic style transfer for videos and spherical images

Everyone has seen those phone apps that make your photos look like the style of a famous painting. It is often called transferring artistic style. Code is easily available for you to write one yourself. Freshman in Stanford CS 231n do this today using neural nets.

 

Researchers have now extended that technique to video using some interesting new optical flow techniques. Will we even need animators in the future?

Farming revolution is not being televised

Farming revolution is not being televised

Autonomous cars are getting all the press, but there is an even more disruptive side to self-driving vehicles that will almost certainly come first – autonomous farming.

Imagine running a farm completely from your study? Sending fleets of tractors and harvesters to work 24-7 without a single human setting foot in the field. They can be timed to plant, harvest, or plow when conditions are optimal. Be monitored remotely by camera and even be driven remotely.

They could be combined with small drones or robots that are able to do fine labor – like weeding without damaging the plants and using a minimal amount of chemicals:

This isn’t just about reducing labor efforts – it’s actually a potentially huge jump in productivity and capital outlay as well. Imagine fields that can be analyzed and automatically planted based on market conditions, soil conditions – all to maximize profit and production.

It could radically reduce costs and environmental impact of chemicals used to feed, weed, and protect by insecticides. Imagine a machine that could drive over a field – targetting weeds and plants and give it exactly the right amount of insecticides, feed, and weed killer on an individual level.

This technology is not science fiction – it’s here in prototypes now. It should become ubiquitous in the next decade or two. Here’s a good overview of what’s coming and already in development

How easy it is to make anyone say anything now

How easy it is to make anyone say anything now

More proof that seeing is NOT believing.

I’ve posted numerous research papers that show how easy it is to make videos do what you’d like. How to take snippets of voices and make people say whatever you’d like. We can even now make people do dances on video they can’t do in real life. How easy is this to do? Deep fakes are shockingly easy as it turns out and only needs a few savy folks to make one.

Here’s the latest example where former US president Obama is made to say whatever the actor behind them wants.

Your first game

Your first game

Time for me to shake my fist and tell you darn kids to get off my lawn. Lets set the wayback machine to the 1980’s…

Ralph Koster shares the first video game he ever wrote as well as a great flashback to what almost everyone that wanted to learn to program did back in the 80’s and 90’s. We typed in long programs by hand from books we got at the library and computer magazines. We taught ourselves BASIC and smatterings of assembly. If you were really cool, you even tried to sell your games: which was done by copying them to a floppy, printing a dot-matrix label for it, and trying to sell it in a ziplock baggie.

I started by fiddling around with the programs I typed in to see if I could change them or make them do different things.

My very first video ‘game’ on my TSR-80 consisted of a bunch of black and white dots that would fall down from the top of the screen, and you moved your dot ‘ship’ back and forth to avoid them as the enemies rained down. They came down one at a time. Ridiculously slowly. But it was probably my very first ‘game’.

My second, more ‘real’ game was a castle adventure game. You were the sole heir of a long-lost uncle and had to search his castle to find the deed within 24 hours. It was a text adventure at its heart, but there was opening graphics. I even wrote my own graphics editor with which I drew those opening screens. I believe I still have the graph paper I used.

Anyway, for anyone who learned to program in the 80’s, Koster’s video will tug some familiar heartstrings. For you younger kids, this is how it was done back in the day…

Generating garbley text

Generating garbley text

Ever see that strange garbaly text on posts? Want to create it yourself? It’s generated using Zalgo (http://eeemo.net/).

Here’s an example of what it can generate:

O͈̬͎̫̦̭̭n̬̦̞̺̼̗̠ce̖ ̷u̙̼͕̩̬̹ͅp̀o͇͎̣̥̼n̡͖̰͍̱͉͚ ͕͜a̵̭ ̭͠m͏̖͇̞̫̗̜i̞͖̺̖͔d̩̹̯n͉͙̞͚̘͟i̸͍̲͙͕g̜͈̩̬ͅht̗ ̥̥͈̺̝̣̰d͚̟͝ͅr̢͕̜̥̫̠̣̤e͇a̲̖̹͞r̜͚̞y̜͕,̱ ̝͖̰͙͎͚͘w̹̥̥͇̹̼͟h͕̰̝i̙̘̯l̦͈̯̯e̮͎ͅ ̧̺̟̘̙͕͕I̼͙ ̥̬̮̝͕͟p̬͔͙o͓͖̩n̴̩̞̬̻d͔͈ḛ̡̝̝̻̥r̞͍̫̲̰ḙ͔̩̲̟́d̨̦̹̳̯̩̗̯,̕ ̷͓̭̪̟̦̻̳w̘̬e̠a͙̹̹̞̺͉͝ḵ̞̹͠ ̘̮̩̫̲ͅa̖̦n̯͔̞̱̬d̮̰ w̸̫̪̦̦͙é͓͖͙̪͍a̛͎̫͓̦̹͙r̹͇͔y͔̹̱̭̱͙,̢͔͖̖̘
̯̰O͍̼̪̗̥̩ͅv͏̱͚̭̠e̵̳r̥̣̠ ̸̻̝̲m̜͍͙ą͍̳̝n͙͇̞y̫͉̳̼̹͓͠ ͍̪͉̗͉̯a̟͍ ̟̗̩̭̺̖q̸̹͚̖̜͙̳u̷̱̝̟̬͎a̳̟̥̱̠͠i̗͖̳͍n̦t ̳͎̠̦a̭̪̣n͙̗̤̯̟̮̩͞d̀ ͓͚̣͘c̴̗u̻͕͟r̸͕̱̪̗͚ì̘o̶̻͕̪̗̫̞u̗̖̻͍̣s̵̫̲̟̟͖̙ ̶̱v̥̩̻̱o̴͍̙̘̻͙l͕͔̮͚͓̱͜u͏̺̜m̮̝̦̠͘ę͉̤͎̹ ̟o̗̦f̧̲͖ ̼̻͚͕̯̞͡f̡̜̻̱̻o̷̮̝̙r̘͖̩̝͉g̘̰͝o̶̺̮̼̝̲̻t͖̗̗̳̼͔ͅte̢̥̻̺͈n̴̙̣ ̠̜̞l͘o͓͈͔̖͚r͓̘͉̖͖͎e̫͕̝͢—͏͎͍̯͕̬̬̬
̸̤͙͔͇ ̰̞͈̼̲̭̬ ҉̠̜͔̙͕͚͕ ͔͉̗̼̫͜ͅW̢̘̱͙̫̭̲h̝̙͎̥̲i̥̙̗l̹̘̖̠̩͖̫e̟ ̖̭̥̩̥̱̫I͍̼̜ ̨͓̪̲̝̰n̩o̵̦ͅd͍̜͚͚ḏ͍͡e̷̪̝̟̺̬d́,̪ ̝̬͓ͅn̝e͟a͡r̝̘̣̳͜l̛̻̠͎͇̣y̡̲̳̪̦ ̛̝̻͔n̤̗̝͚͓̠a̕p̙p̗̘͓̮̦i͏̪n̶g̢̰,̮̩̲̣̮̮ ̗̞̳s͍̭̹̤̪͟u͚̬̙̼͈ḓ̷̭̘͍ͅd̫̙̭̰̕e͖̙̝͕͔ṋ̮̼̱̲̙l͕͙̲͞y̛ ͏̗̟ͅt̢̩͈͕͙̦̼̭h̟̝̠̼̰̀ę̮͚̟͇̳̠̼r̳̭͍͕̤̟e̲̬̝͈̝̻ ͏̪̠̻͇̦̦c̘͎̼̠am͖̣ͅe͖̖̪͜ ̺̗̬͈͎a̵͉̖͚̗͈̥͖ ̣̪̙̟͇͓̕t̖̞͈a͕̲̮̯̦͟p̡̲̻͍p̪̖̞̫͈̝i͎̰̜̭ṋ̺g̩̠͚̘͎͚͟,̬
̶̩͇͎͈̯̫A͕͕̤s҉̘̭̳̮͙ ̛͍̠̘̼̞̣̟o̷f͙ ̘̗͖͖ͅs͢o̷̬m̷̹ͅe͏͙͍̞̬̱ ̦͔͓͙ͅo̹̰͢ͅņ̘e̡̙̣̪͍̻̩ ̤́g͍e͈̹̟n̛ͅt͍̗l̴̜̩̱̖͇ỵ̢͇ ͈̝̠̫͈̹r͖̟a̷p͓̝͚̬p̷͈̖͔͎̗̜ing̶̙̙̺,͏̼̥̥̹̰͈ r̶̼̠̹̺̩a̧̺͇̩pp̘i̜͓̭̜̼n͇̝͡g̲̗ͅ ҉̪̬̝̝̦̬̲a̡̩̦t͇̼̮ ̡̜͎͎̗̤m̫̯ͅy̱̻̯̯̮̮͈ ̪̯̬c̟͖̺͔̦ḩa̖̲̠ͅͅm̼b̵̝̤̙̲̗e̸ͅr̘̥̫̦ ̞d̞͔o̢̙̙o̺̼͘r͔̦͕̜͇̣͡.̝͙͎̼̺͍̰
̩͎̜͈̼͢

 

Make anyone dance

Make anyone dance

More astounding technology. Take any source dancer and make anyone do the same dance.

This will probably be used very soon to make whole hosts of dancers in movies/music videos all in perfect sync while only paying for one source dancer.

It could be used to bring back deceased dancers, or apply the dances of deceased dancers onto new artists.

Full paper here:
https://arxiv.org/pdf/1808.07371.pdf