Big Tech &
Google Says That They Have Just Reached Quantum Supremacy (2 minute read)
Google has announced that it has reached quantum supremacy. Quantum computing uses the phenomena of quantum mechanics to deliver tremendous computing power. These computers have the potential to easily outpace the world's top supercomputers. Normal computers use bits, which are electrical or optical pulses representing 1s or 0s. Quantum computers use qubits, which are usually subatomic particles such as electrons or photons which are connected in a way that allows for more processing power than using bits. Google's quantum computer completed a calculation in three minutes that would've taken IBM's Summit, the world's most powerful commercial supercomputer, 10,000 years to complete.
TiVo confirms its customers will soon see ads before DVR recordings (2 minute read)
All TiVo customers will start seeing video advertisements before DVR recordings, including customers with lifetime subscription plans. The change will be rolled out to all devices within the next 90 days. Customers will have an option to skip the ads as soon as they start up, but there will be a slow delay before content will be displayed. The reaction from customers is as expected, with many threatening to cancel their subscriptions as soon as the changes begin.
Mysterious magnetic pulses discovered on Mars (13 minute read)
The InSight lander has discovered that Mars' magnetic field will occasionally pulsate in ways that have never been observed before. InSight has been gathering information on Mars such as upper crust temperature, the sounds of alien quakes, and the strength and direction of the planet's magnetic field. It has found that Mars' crust is far more powerfully magnetic than scientists expected. There is a peculiar electrically conductive layer about 2.5 miles thick deep beneath the planet's surface. This layer may be a global reserve of liquid water, similar to Earth's groundwater. Mars' crustal magnetic field is ten times stronger than Earth's, suggesting that it once also had a major global magnetic field. Magnetic fields can be used to find the presence of underground water, but it is too early to tell exactly what is causing the fields and the magnetic pulses. A gallery of images taken on Mars is available.
India plans to adopt China-style facial recognition in policing, despite having no data privacy laws (5 minute read)
India will open bids next month to build a system to centralize facial recognition data captured through surveillance cameras across India. This system will link up databases that contain information such as passport details and fingerprints in order to help India's police force identify criminals, missing people, and dead bodies. India's police force is currently the world's most understaffed, with one officer for every 724 citizens. There are no data privacy laws in India. The government has been attempting to implement a biometric database for the country which links bank accounts and income tax filings, but there have been many reports of data leaks as well as the growth of a black market for personal information.
Programming, Design & Data Science
pure bash bible (GitHub Repo)
This repository contains a collection of pure bash alternatives to external processes. Its goal is to document methods for doing various tasks using only built-in bash features. There are many code snippets available that can help remove dependencies on scripts.
Pwnagotchi (GitHub Repo)
Pwnagotchi is an AI that learns to capture WPA key material more effectively over time. The more handshakes it captures, the more effective it will be. Multiple units can learn to work with each other. It requires a Raspberry Pi Zero W with a display and power bank. As it is in its alpha stage, there is no support for installation or for bugs.
Brains are the last frontier of privacy (3 minute read)
Several startups and a major tech company are now developing brain-computer interfaces, with some rudimentary versions already popping up in online stores. The concern for these devices is that they are able to read thoughts, which might open up the possibility of discrimination based on what goes on inside a person's head. Devices can already recognize basic emotional states, unspoken words, and imagined movements. The technology has been applied to the area of prosthetics, allowing people to regain control of their limbs. Companies are aiming to create devices that allow typing with thoughts or even merging with AI. These devices will generate huge amounts of neural data, which is potentially one of the most sensitive forms of personal information. This data could be exploited for marketing and has the potential to be used against people who show particular brain patterns, for example, it can be used to tell whether a person had propensities for addiction, depression, or neurological disease.
No TLDR Originals for 2019-09-23