Morphing Computer Chip Defeats All Hackers
Engineers have designed a computer processor that thwarts hackers by randomly changing its microarchitecture every few milliseconds. Known as Morpheus, the puzzling processor has now aced its first major tests, repelling hundreds of professional hackers in a DARPA security challenge.
In 2017, DARPA backed the University of Michigan’s Morpheus project with US$3.6 million in funding, and now the novel processor has been put to the test. Over four months in 2020, DARPA ran a bug bounty program called Finding Exploits to Thwart Tampering (FETT), pitting 525 professional security researchers against Morpheus and a range of other processors.
The goal of the program was to test new hardware-based security systems, which could protect data no matter how vulnerable the underlying software was. Morpheus was mocked up to resemble a medical database, complete with software vulnerabilities – and yet, not a single attack made it through its defences.
There’s basically no such thing as bug-free software, and in many cases these bugs can be exploited by hackers. Software developers will usually patch them up when they find them, but that often doesn’t happen until after an attack, and hackers will just move onto the next vulnerability. The cycle continues in a never-ending arms race between hackers and developers.
Aluminium-Ion Batteries Charge 10X Faster
Australian company Graphene Manufacturing Group (GMG) has announced exciting performance test results for a new type of aluminium-ion battery that can charge 10X faster than today’s lithium-ion units, while lasting much longer and needing no cooling.
In experiments performed by the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology at the University of Queensland, coin cell prototypes of the new battery delivered the following key performance figures.
Firstly, a power density around 7,000 W/kg. Power density puts a number on how quickly a cell can charge and discharge. With current lithium-ion batteries sitting between 250-700 W/kg, this is a huge leap, and it puts the aluminium-ion battery nearly on the level of ultracapacitors, which can deliver around 12,000-14,000 W/kg.
Secondly, an energy density of 150-160 Wh/kg – so it carries only around 60 percent of the energy per weight of today’s best commercial lithium-ion cells.
Energy density has long been the key spec sheet number for electric car batteries; the greater the energy density, the more range you can get out of your battery pack. So on energy density alone, this new GMG battery wouldn’t get a second glance from an EV manufacturer.
But its monster charge rate could change that, along with a couple of other key advantages. These things can charge so fast, says GMG, that a mobile phone running on this aluminium-ion tech could get a full charge in 1-5 minutes. Take that concept across to the electric car world, and you’re looking at an EV that travels 60 percent as far as an equivalent Tesla on a charge, but that charges so damn fast that range might become far less of an issue.
Renewable Energy Generation Grows By 45%
The world’s renewable energy industry grew at its fastest pace since 1999 last year, despite the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and may have established a standard for growth in the future, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The global energy watchdog revealed that the delivery of renewable energy projects, including windfarms and solar power projects, grew by 45% last year in a step change for the global industry.
Wind power capacity doubled over the last year, while solar power grew by almost 50% more than its growth before the pandemic, due to the growing appetite for clean energy from governments and corporations.
The clean energy boom has prompted the IEA to revise its renewable energy forecasts for the coming years up by about 25% from its previous growth estimates due to the faster than expected expansion of renewables in China, Europe and the US.
Your Car Will Be Able To Check You For Dementia As You Drive
A fascinating new study from a team of US researchers has used machine learning techniques to develop algorithms that can analyse naturalistic driving data and detect mild cognitive impairment and dementia in a driver.
Although the work is still in the preliminary stage the researchers claim it could be possible in the future to detect early signs of dementia using either a smartphone app or devices incorporated into car software systems.
The influence of dementia on driving behaviour is a reasonably well-studied topic. It is certainly unsurprising to observe driving behaviours change as neurodegeneration leads to cognitive decline. However, this new research set out to explore whether machine learning techniques could be used to identify patterns in driving data that can then detect either mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia.
New Tesla Has Rocket Option For 0–60mph in 1.1 Seconds
Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk has confirmed that the top acceleration of the upcoming Roadster’s rocket thruster option will be 0-60mph (96.5km/hr) in 1.1 seconds.
It will be safe, he added, but perhaps not if you have a heart condition.
It will even be able to fly, albeit very briefly, said Musk.
The 2022 Roadster is the second incarnation of what was Tesla’s first electric vehicle to market in 2008, but is a vastly different beast to the original Lotus-based sportscar.
While the 2008 Roadster was a ground-breaking leap into electric mobility, and had similar specs with comparable specs to consumer-oriented combustion sportscars of the time, the new Roadster takes the notion of sportscar to whole a new level.
In 2018, Musk tweeted that those who buy the new Roadster, which is priced at $250,000 for the limited edition Founder Series, would be available with a “SpaceX” option that consists of 10 rocket thrusters.
Why Regular Orgasms Are An Important Part Of Your Fitness Routines
Last year, if you look at the sales figures, we spent an awful lot of money on masturbating. Perhaps understandably, 2020 was huge for sex toy companies. The UK’s biggest online adult retailer Lovehoney saw a year-on-year sales increase by 150 per cent in what one company representative described as “the biggest surge in sex toy demand since Fifty Shades of Grey was published.”
That sex toy sales skyrocketed during a time of sickness, fear, uncertainty and social isolation has given brands and individuals in the sextech industry unprecedented insights into people’s relationships with sex. The result appears to be that adult toy companies want their products to go further than getting you off. They want their devices to improve your health, maximise your wellbeing.
In October 2020, luxury brand Lelo surveyed 4,000 British adults aged between 18 and 65. More than 30 per cent said stress, depression and anxiety were negatively affecting their sex life. In the 18-24 bracket this rose to 42.5 per cent.
Meanwhile, sales were booming, with Lelo’s year-on-year increase reaching 148 per cent in the peak of lockdown. The company also saw traffic to its educational blog, Volonté, double. Poor mental health, the brand concluded, was indeed messing with people’s sex lives. But not only was Lelo trying to gather and analyse information, it wanted to make sex part of the solution.
“In the past, people tended to focus on one area of human wellbeing. But the dialogue has changed. We have a more holistic view,” explains Lelo’s CMO Luka Matutinovic. “We now know that sex is one of the key ingredients. Orgasms give us serotonin and dopamine, which also boosts the immune system. It’s part of our whole wellbeing.”
CRISPR Gene Editing Fixes Cholesterol In Monkeys
According to the United States’ CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. It is estimated that one person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease.
Now, scientists have now successfully used CRISPR base editors to turn off the gene that produces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in monkeys. The research, if replicable on humans, could help eradicate a major cause of heart disease.
The work was a collaboration between researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the private company Verve Therapeutics. Together the researchers developed a one-time gene therapy that reduced monkeys’ LDL cholesterol levels by 60 percent in just one week.
“Here we demonstrate that CRISPR base editors that are delivered in vivo using lipid nanoparticles can efficiently and precisely modify disease-related genes in living cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis),” wrote the researchers in their study published in the journal Nature.
New Vaccine Cures 50% Of Type 1 Diabetes
Results from a Phase 2 trial testing a novel type 1 diabetes vaccine have found the treatment is effective in a patient subgroup with a specific genetic variant. If validated in larger trials the new treatment could be helpful in around 50 percent of patients with type 1 diabetes.
For several years, researchers have known that one of the key indicators of type 1 diabetes is the presence of autoantibodies targeting a pancreatic protein called GAD65. In these diabetic patients the presence of these autoantibodies is often an early sign of disease and researchers have long hypothesized the possibility of disrupting this autoimmune mechanism as a way of helping prevent the destruction of insulin-producing cells.
To help the immune system become more tolerant of these natural GAD proteins, a vaccine called GAD-alum has been developed. If the immune system of a newly diagnosed diabetic patient could be trained to stop destroying GAD proteins, then hypothetically some level of natural insulin production could be retained. However, a number of GAD vaccine trials over recent years have delivered inconclusive results.
Researchers behind a Phase 2 trial testing a GAD vaccine in over 100 newly diagnosed young type 1 diabetes patients are suggesting a particular genetic variant could be the key to understanding who this treatment may work for.