Archive for July 2007

Hidden Underwater City Wows Experts

The discoveries, reported in the August issue of GSA Today, the journal of the Geological Society of America, came by accident when his team drilled underwater in Alexandria’s harbor, Stanley said.

Their project was part of a 2007 Smithsonian-funded study of the subsiding Nile Delta and involved extracting three-inch-wide sticks of core sediment some 18 feet long (5.5 meters), from up to 20 feet (6.5 meters) under the seabed. Egypt’s antiquities department and a French offshore group were involved in the project.

The goal was to understand what happened to cause later structures, from the Greek and Roman eras, to become submerged. “One of the ways you do this is by taking sediment cores and examining core structures,” he said.

“This often happens in science. We were not searching for an ancient city,” said Stanley, who has been working in the Delta region for 20 years.

When his team opened the cores, what they saw were “little ceramic fragments that were indicative of human activity.” But there was no immediate cause for excitement.

Then, more and more rock fragments, ceramic shards from Middle and Upper Egypt, a lot of organic matter plant matter and heavy minerals were found. All the materials were found by radiocarbon dating to be from around 1000 B.C.

The scientists then analyzed concentration of lead isotopes found in the cores and saw that they too matched the dates of around 3,000 years ago.

Discovery Channel :: News – Archaeology :: Hidden Underwater City Wows Experts

Super Paper

Researchers have made some progress building structures called carbon nanotubes–whose single-layer atomic structure is tightly bound and therefore super rigid–but the tubes are expensive to manufacture and so far can only be used in tiny amounts.

Now, a research team from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, has assembled particles of graphene oxide, a form of graphite and a cousin of diamonds, into very thin sheets that are even stronger than those made of the nanotubes. The process works like this: the team disperses graphene oxide particles in specially treated water and then draws the mixture through a filter membrane. The water somehow causes the particles to bind into a paperlike layer on the filter’s surface, the researcher reports in tomorrow’s Nature. “We actually don’t know all of the details of how the layering takes place,” says physical chemist and co-author Rod Ruoff. Laboratory tests showed that the grapheme paper was as strong as that made from carbon nanotubes, yet unlike nanotubes, the material can be fabricated to any size. That makes graphene paper a prime candidate for a new generation of superstrong composite materials, Ruoff says.

The super paper does have its kryptonite, however. The sheets remain stable when exposed to air, says Ruoff, but immersing them in water slowly loosens the bonds. Also, says materials scientist Boris Yakobson of Rice University in Houston, Texas, because water is so common as either liquid as rain or vapor as humidity, it will likely affect graphene sheets exposed to the environment in the long run if the material can’t be protected from water’s effects. So, the next task is to find other molecules that can replace water in the fabrication process.

75-yo has world’s fastest broadband

Sigbritt Löthberg’s home has been supplied with a blistering 40 Gigabits per second connection, many thousands of times faster than the average residential link and the first time ever that a home user has experienced such a high speed.

But Sigbritt, who had never had a computer until now, is no ordinary 75 year old. She is the mother of Swedish internet legend Peter Löthberg who, along with Karlstad Stadsnät, the local council’s network arm, has arranged the connection.

“This is more than just a demonstration,” said network boss Hafsteinn Jonsson.

“As a network owner we’re trying to persuade internet operators to invest in faster connections. And Peter Löthberg wanted to show how you can build a low price, high capacity line over long distances,” he told The Local.

Sigbritt will now be able to enjoy 1,500 high definition HDTV channels simultaneously. Or, if there is nothing worth watching there, she will be able to download a full high definition DVD in just two seconds.

The secret behind Sigbritt’s ultra-fast connection is a new modulation technique which allows data to be transferred directly between two routers up to 2,000 kilometres apart, with no intermediary transponders.

According to Karlstad Stadsnät the distance is, in theory, unlimited – there is no data loss as long as the fibre is in place.

The Local – Sigbritt, 75, has world’s fastest broadband

Sixaxis to Get Rumble This September?

It has been widely reported that the new TouchSense technology will be utilized to create a new, rumble-enabled, PS3 Sixaxis controller.

Sony reportedly informed Kotaku that rumble is definitely coming to PS3, it’s just a matter of when, and this latest press release from Immersion certainly raises the possibility that it could be in September.

“Under the terms of the license, these products will now bear Immersion’s Feel The Game TouchSense Technology logo,” reads the press release from which the news emanated.

Sixaxis to Get Rumble This September? : Next Generation

Inside the Mind of a Hacker

Poteet, chief security officer at AppDefense, is the type of hacker commonly referred to as a white-hat hacker or security researcher—someone who digs for system holes to point out where trouble could occur. Black-hat hackers are just the opposite—people who try to gain access to systems and the data on them for nefarious purposes. In the past, most hackers were in it for fun or for bragging rights.

Now, black hats are selling exploits for tens of thousands of dollars as the malware industry capitalizes on flaws to capture passwords, credentials for banking sites and personal information for identity theft and financial fraud.

Learning how black-hat hackers think, what they’re looking for and how they get it should be a fundamental part of any company’s security strategy.

eWeek: Inside the Mind of a Hacker

The Vanishing Universe

According to a paper that will appear in October (arXiv link), we’re lucky to be able to reach this understanding—literally. The authors of the paper run the clock forward 100 billion years and reveal that it’s going back to the future, a conclusion clear in the paper’s title: The Return of a Static universe and the End of Cosmology.

The 100-billion-year figure was chosen because that’s expected to be the lifespan of the longest-lived stars. By that time, only clusters of galaxies will be bound together strongly enough to resist the Hubble expansion. In our case, that means the Milky Way, Andromeda, and a number of smaller globular clusters in our neighborhood. By that time, we’ll have collided and merged with Andromeda, making the local group one big galaxy. By then, however, everything else we can see will have been pushed so far away by the universe’s expansion that all other sources of light will have been redshifted beyond our ability to detect them. All matter other than that in our galaxy will be invisible, and our view of the universe will look suspiciously like it did in the pre-Hubble days.

The cosmic microwave background, which has provided our most detailed understanding of the Big Bang, will also be gone. Its wavelength will have been shifted to a full meter, and its intensity will drop by 12 orders of magnitude. Even before then, however, the frequency will reach that of the interstellar plasma and be buried in the noise—the stuff of the universe itself will mask the evidence of its origin.

Other evidence for the Big Bang comes from the amount of deuterium and helium isotopes in the universe. By 100 billion years from now, however, much of the deuterium will have been burned in stars, with lots of helium produced in the process, erasing this evidence of our history. Worse still, we currently measure early deuterium levels by checking its absorbence of light from distant quasars. In the future, those quasars will have vanished.

The universe will destroy the evidence of its origin

Simulated Parallel Earth

The DOD is developing a parallel to Planet Earth, with billions of individual “nodes” to reflect every man, woman, and child this side of the dividing line between reality and AR.

Called the Sentient World Simulation (SWS), it will be a “synthetic mirror of the real world with automated continuous calibration with respect to current real-world information”, according to a concept paper for the project.

“SWS provides an environment for testing Psychological Operations (PSYOP),” the paper reads, so that military leaders can “develop and test multiple courses of action to anticipate and shape behaviors of adversaries, neutrals, and partners”.

SWS also replicates financial institutions, utilities, media outlets, and street corner shops. By applying theories of economics and human psychology, its developers believe they can predict how individuals and mobs will respond to various stressors.

SEAS can display regional results for public opinion polls, distribution of retail outlets in urban areas, and the level of unorganization of local economies, which may point to potential areas of civil unrest

Yank a country’s water supply. Stage a military coup. SWS will tell you what happens next.

“The idea is to generate alternative futures with outcomes based on interactions between multiple sides,” said Purdue University professor Alok Chaturvedi, co-author of the SWS concept paper.

Sentient world: war games on the grandest scale | The Register