Black hole toilet / Needling the patient / Gangue in goaf / Plank on wood

This week’s Feedback column (that I write) in New Scientist magazine has three segments. Here are bits of each of them: Black hole bum— Roger Sharp adds another item to Feedback’s compendium of black holes that are findable on surface maps of our own planet (7 October). Visitors to the Maitai Esplanade Reserve in Nelson, New Zealand, may find relief […]

Person Authentication Using Finger Snapping [study]

When it comes to biometric authorization systems, there are many to choose from – candidates include face recognition, fingerprint recognition, ear recognition, voice recognition, tongue recognition and body odour recognition etc etc. But none is 100% perfect, so there’s always a demand for improvement and innovation. In 2016, a team from the Department of Computer […]

How much cybersecurity is enough to save the world?

Security? What kind of answer does that question really have? This paper gives an answer, kind of: “Cybersecurity is not very important,” Andrew Odlyzko [pictured here], University of Minnesota, Revised version, March 18, 2019. The author explains: “There is a rising tide of security breaches. There is an even faster rising tide of hysteria over […]

“Overtaken by curiosity” Users Really Do Plug in USB Drives (which) They Find

“We investigate the anecdotal belief that end users will pick up and plug in USB flash drives they find by completing a controlled experiment in which we drop 297 flash drives on a large university campus. We find that the attack is effective with an estimated success rate of 45–98% and expeditious with the first […]

The naked truth (estimating body shape under clothing)

Remember ‘X-Ray Specs’? “Look at your friend. Is that really his body you ‘see’ under his clothes?” asked the advertisements. Though no doubt disappointing to some, the answer to the question was of course ‘No’. Since their invention however, progress has been made in computerised body visualisation systems, devices which also can’t ‘see’ under peoples […]

Cybersecurity and the Artificial Pancreas

“Cybersecurity and the Artificial Pancreas ” appears to be the subject of this week’s Press Release of the Week. The press release, issued by the Mary-Ann-Liebert-centric entity that calls itself “Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., Publishers”, has been reprinted in several places as a news article. It begins: Cybersecurity and the Artificial Pancreas—What are the Risks? New […]

They gamely plant a secret password in the participant’s brain

They gamely plant a secret password in the participant’s brain, they say, in this presentation: “Neuroscience Meets Cryptography: Designing Crypto Primitives Secure Against Rubber Hose Attacks,” Hristo Bojinov [Stanford University], Daniel Sanchez and Paul Reber [Northwestern University], Dan Boneh [Stanford University], Patrick Lincoln [SRI], 21st USENIX Security Symposium, August 8-12, 2014, Bellevue, Washington. (Thanks to […]

Their machine will tell if you’re friend or foe, they say

Veritas Scientific Corporation is — well, it must be — the rare company with technology that surpasses the limitations of what scientists understand. Veritas is all about deception. In the promotional video here, Veritas Scientific’s founder and CEO Eric Fenn Elbot says that he “started reading incredible research about how to detect brain waves to detect deception, and how to […]

Announcing: a courtesy for intelligence agencies the world over

We are pleased to introduce @IG_NSA — a Twitter feed supplying background info and secrets of the Ig Nobel Prizes. @IG_NSA is intended as a courtesy for intelligence agencies the world over. It is meant to express the good wishes of the Boston/Cambridge area technology/science/medical community. AND COMING SOON… We will also soon announce [watch this space and/or follow the Twitter […]