Category Archives: Technology

It’s medicine Jim, but not as we know it: Scientists build Star Trek-style tricorder that scans for signs of disease

Outstanding!

Imagine a world where a handheld gadget scans your body and diagnoses illnesses in seconds – reducing hospital visits and potentially saving your life.

It may sound like the work of science fiction but engineers in California have taken their lead from the Star Trek franchise and developed a real-life version of the show’s medical tricorder.

The Scanadu Scout can read a person’s temperature, heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and more, simply being held against their forehead.

This information is then stored on a smartphone app that patients can use to monitor their health, or can be shared with doctors for example.

The tricorder uses a micro-USB adapter that can be hooked into a USB port, and it takes less than an hour to charge the battery.

Documents Reveal Top NSA Hacking Unit

Does this mean UPS, Fedex, and USPS are cooperating with this? Because that would be illegal.

Take, for example, when they intercept shipping deliveries. If a target person, agency or company orders a new computer or related accessories, for example, TAO can divert the shipping delivery to its own secret workshops. The NSA calls this method interdiction. At these so-called “load stations,” agents carefully open the package in order to load malware onto the electronics, or even install hardware components that can provide backdoor access for the intelligence agencies. All subsequent steps can then be conducted from the comfort of a remote computer.

These minor disruptions in the parcel shipping business rank among the “most productive operations” conducted by the NSA hackers, one top secret document relates in enthusiastic terms. This method, the presentation continues, allows TAO to obtain access to networks “around the world.”

Even in the Internet Age, some traditional spying methods continue to live on.

H/T Instapundit

 

 

Hide the Hack…

Hiding the Hacking at HealthCare.gov

At least Target informed its customers of the security breach, as it is required by federal law to do. HealthCare.gov faces no such requirement; it need never notify customers that their personal information has been hacked or possibly compromised. The Department of Health and Human Services was specifically asked to include a notification requirement in the rules it designed for the health-care exchanges, but HHS declined.

Of course, they did…

Plants won’t grow near Wi-Fi routers, experiment finds

NaturalNews

The latest research into the dangers of Wi-Fi, though, comes from a surprisingly humble source: Five ninth grade female students from Denmark, whose science experiment revealed that wireless radiation is equally as devastating to plants.

Undeniable results

The experiment began when the five students realized that they had difficulty concentrating in school if they slept near their mobile phones the previous night. Intrigued by this phenomenon, the students endeavored to study the effects of cellphone radiation on humans. Unfortunately, their school prevented them from pursuing this experiment due to a lack of resources, so the students decided to test the effects of Wi-Fi radiation (comparable in strength to cellphone radiation) on a plant instead.

The girls placed six trays of Lepidium sativum seeds (a garden cress grown commercially throughout Europe) in a room without radiation, and an equal amount in a room next to two Wi-Fi routers. Over a 12-day period, they observed, measured, weighed and photographed the results. Even before the 12th day arrived, however, the end results were obvious: The cress seeds placed near the routers either hadn’t grown or were completely dead, while the seeds placed in the radiation-free room had blossomed into healthy plants.

The experiment earned the five students top honors in a regional science competition. Moreover, according to a teacher at their school, Kim Horsevad, a professor of neuroscience at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden was so impressed with the experiment that he is interested in repeating it in a controlled scientific environment.

You can help reduce your exposure to Wi-Fi radiation by following the advice in this article.

NSA spied on ‘World of Warcraft,’ other online games, leaked documents show

Even online gaming isn’t safe from NSA’s prying eyes…

The National Security Agency (NSA) and UK sister agency GCHQ sought to infiltrate the massive virtual worlds in online video games such as “World of Warcraft” and interactive environments like “Second Life,” according to the latest secret documents stolen by Edward Snowden and jointly released by the Guardian, the New York Times and ProPublica.

According to a document titled “Exploiting Terrorist Use of Games & Virtual Environments,” the secretive spy agencies were concerned by potential terrorist use of such games and felt an immediate need to begin analyzing in-game communications as early as 2007.

“[Certain] games offer realistic weapons training (what weapon to use against what target, what ranges can be achieved, even aiming and firing), military operations and tactics, photorealistic land navigation and terrain familiarization, and leadership skills,” the document notes. “Some of the 9-11 pilots had never flown a real plane, they had only trained using Microsoft’s Flight Simulator.”

“The Hizballah has even hooked up a PlayStation controller to a laptop in order to guide some of its real missiles,” it notes.

According to the Guardian, real-world agents were deployed into those virtual worlds to extract communications, recruit potential informants and keep tabs on potential terrorists.

 

An Artificial Hand with Real Feelings

MITTech

Now researchers at the Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University have developed a new kind of interface that can convey a sense of touch from 20 spots on a prosthetic hand. It does this by directly stimulating nerve bundles—known as peripheral nerves—in the arms of patients; two people have so far been fitted with the interface. What’s more, the implants continue to work after 18 months, a noteworthy milestone given that electrical interfaces to nerve tissue can gradually degrade in performance.

A video produced several weeks ago shows a 48-year-old Ohio man who lost his right hand in an accident three years ago using his prosthetic hand to pick up and remove stems from cherries without crushing them from excessive squeezing. This was thanks to the new technology, which allowed force detectors on the digits of his prosthetic hand to convey touch information directly to three pea-sized nerve interfaces surgically implanted in his lower right arm. He controls the hand through a standard technology called a myoelectric interface, which uses signals from the muscles in his lower arm to govern prosthetic hand movements.

The work opens up the possibility that prosthetic limbs could one day provide enduring and nuanced feedback to humans, says Dustin Tyler, the Case Western professor behind the project.

Nobody’s This Stupid and Incompetent…

All you can do is sit back and laugh at the absurdness of it all…

Imagine the hours upon hours of bickering we’ll see between government bureaucrats and insurance company officials before, or if, this gets resolved. No one can possibly believe that the Obama administration won’t capitalize on this new opportunity to bully the industry it loves to hate. (Aside: I wonder how the folks in the insurance business who salivated over “all those new customers” they would gain feel about being in bed with Team Obama now?)

Months ago, we learned that HealthCare.gov enrollees will be on the “honor system” in submitting their personal and income data. Now we discover that the Internal Revenue Service, which is supposed to at least apply a sniff test to what users submit, “doesn’t have the system to check what your income is, to see what subsidies you are eligible for,” opening up the potential for massive fraud. Anyone who believes it can’t happen isn’t aware of the IRS’s multibillion-dollar failure to stop illegal aliens from taking bogus chid-care credits.

President Barack Obama has done very little to ensure that his “signature achievement” would get off the ground successfully. How little? Try “almost nothing.” According to a study by the Government Accountability Institute, the president only met with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius one time since the Affordable Care Act became law. That was way back on April 21, 2010 — and even that was a joint meeting with then-Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

Meanwhile, this non-working clunker’s waste, likely fraud, and cronyism will almost certainly send its cost over the $1 billion mark — all for a site which some IT experts claim should have cost less than $10 million.

Obamacare’s damage is already spreading to the rest of the economy. Large-company CEOs are saying that the uncertainties it is imposing  are “harming the economic rebound.” (Yeah, I know. What economic rebound?) Black Friday weekend’s pathetic sales results make the concern I expressed several weeks ago that we could see a no-growth fourth quarter all too real.

This enterprise’s screw-ups, missed assignments, unaddressed problems and management failures have collectively created a level of disarray I have not seen in my lifetime — one which promises to sustain itself well into next year, if not longer. It’s likely that all we’ve seen so far represents the very small tip of a huge iceberg aimed straight at the economy and our civil society. Just wait until consumers get turned away because there’s no record of their enrollment, doctors and hospitals don’t get paid, and the frauds begin to be exposed.

And they wonder why they can’t get it to work…

LudditeCare: A Federal Agency That Still Uses Floppy Disks

Last month, the New Yorker made rare sport of its fellow leftists, by featuring on its cover Kathleen Sebelius crossing her fingers, a pensive looking Barack Obama with Gordon Gekko’s giant mid-’80s brick of a cell phone, and a pocket protector-wearing young nerd (Jay Carney?) inserting into a White House computer equipped with a sclerotic CRT monitor, yet another piece of technology from the early pioneering days of personal computers, a floppy disk.

As Malcolm Muggeridge noted a half century ago, there is no way for any satirist to improve upon real life for its pure absurdity. Yesterday, the New York Times* ran a story titled, “Slowly They Modernize: A Federal Agency That Still Uses Floppy Disks”:

The technology troubles that plagued the HealthCare.gov website rollout may not have come as a shock tonew_yorker_obamacare_failure_11-01-13 people who work for certain agencies of the government — especially those who still use floppy disks, the cutting-edge technology of the 1980s.

Every day, The Federal Register, the daily journal of the United States government, publishes on its website and in a thick booklet around 100 executive orders, proclamations, proposed rule changes and other government notices that federal agencies are mandated to submit for public inspection.

So far, so good.

It turns out, however, that the Federal Register employees who take in the information for publication from across the government still receive some of it on the 3.5-inch plastic storage squares that have become all but obsolete in the United States.

Now government infrastructure experts are hoping that public embarrassments like the HealthCare.gov debacle will prompt a closer look at the government’s technological prowess, especially if it might mean getting rid of floppy disks.

“You’ve got this antiquated system that still works but is not nearly as efficient as it could be,” said Stan Soloway, chief executive of the Professional Services Council, which represents more than 370 government contractors. “Companies that work with the government, whether longstanding or newcomers, are all hamstrung by the same limitations.”

The use of floppy disks peaked in American homes and offices in the mid-1990s, and modern computers do not even accommodate them anymore. But The Federal Register continues to accept them, in part because legal and security requirements have yet to be updated, but mostly because the wheels of government grind ever slowly.

Ya Think???

Diagnosis for Healthcare.gov: Unrealistic Technology Expectations

The fiasco with the $600 million federal health insurance website wasn’t all bureaucratic. Forcing slow and disparate databases run by government and insurance companies to work together in real time—and then launching the service all at once—would have challenged even technology wunderkinds.

In particular, the project was doomed by a relatively late decision that required applicants to open an account and let the site verify their identity, residence, and income before they could browse for insurance. That meant the site would have to interface in real-time with databases maintained by the Internal Revenue Service and other agencies.

“You could put 100 Google engineers on it, and it’s not going to fix [the fact] that the scope of the project is flawed or fix the IRS system if it’s slow,” says John Halamka, chief information officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. “You don’t want to query 10 downstream systems and be reliant on their performance, because you are only going to be as good as the slowest one.”

Loose screw? 3-D printer may soon forge you a new one

NBCNews

The first results may look a bit lumpy, but all printed-metal parts need finishing, and with a bit of work, the device will improve as quickly as its plastic-printing brethren. And since it’s steel you’re using, there’s no need to worry about the end product snapping or chipping.

The team is already making changes to increase resolution and decrease print time. In a year or two the MTU device may be considered a watershed moment in the 3-D printing world.

Pearce is hopeful we’ll use this power responsibly:

“Truly distributed manufacturing could finally put scarcity based economic systems behind us — providing enormous wealth for everyone while decreasing our environmental destruction. It is my hope we start making better choices with our advanced technological prowess — it is long past time.”

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