Archive for the ‘techs’ category

Hydrogen energy storage: a 490,000 euros compensation to AREVA

January 10, 2015
La Croix Valmer (a town of the Var department, France) will not exploit his renewable energy storage system.
The public procurement was awarded to AREVA to develop this project.
The agreement is about to be broken because it is not consistent with the financial capacity of the municipality.
In 2012, the town tasked AREVA with the development of a system storing electricity in the form of hydrogen.
Coupled with photovoltaic panels whose production is intermittent, the installation would have allowed several municipal buildings to become energetically self-sufficient and not to suffer the regular failures of the electric network in the Region.
The initial investment was 1,200,000 euros.
It was to be covered at eighty percent by subsidies.
But the new majority has found several hidden costs:
A management software 80,000 , maintenance costs of 54 000 per year, the salary of two monitoring technicians imposed by the national security commission € 60,000 per year.
At that price, it became impossible to commit as the technology is still under development.
AREVA has spent a good part of the expenditure: € 960,000.
The town will have to compensate.
Moreover, without implementation, the subsidies will not fall.
After several months of negotiations, the town wil pay 490,000 euros to AREVA.

Source: Technicité, December 2014


Quantum computing: the majorana fermion could be the solution

October 2, 2014

Majorana fermion: the only particle in existence that can adopt both matter and antimatter characteristics simultaneously without annihilating itself in the process

Normally when particles of matter come into contact with their antimatter counterparts, the result is an intense explosion of energy

So, a particle that can take on matter and antimatter properties simultaneously would, one might think, be incredibly unstable

Quantum computers will transmit data through quantum bits, called qbits

qbits will take on a quantum state that allows them to be both a one and zero simultaneously

the Majorana fermion could be the solution

The man’s credentials were used to order a heart procedure he had not undergone

September 24, 2014

the healthcare industry is becoming a much riper target because of the ability to sell large batches of personal data for profit

Hospitals have low security, so it’s relatively easy for these hackers to get a large amount of personal data for medical fraud.

The data for sale includes names, birth dates, policy numbers, diagnosis codes and billing information

Fraudsters use this data to create fake IDs to buy medical equipment or drugs that can be resold, or they combine a patient number with a false provider number and file made-up claims with insurers

Stolen health credentials can go for $10 each, about 10 or 20 times the value of a U.S. credit card number

Consumers sometimes discover their credentials have been stolen only after fraudsters use their personal medical ID to impersonate them and obtain health services. When the unpaid bills are sent on to debt collectors, they track down the fraud victims and seek payment

one patient learned that his records at a major hospital chain were compromised after he started receiving bills related to a heart procedure he had not undergone. The man’s credentials were also used to buy a mobility scooter and several pieces of medical equipment, racking up tens of thousands of dollars in total fraud.

more than half of California’s wireless 911 calls are delivered without caller location information

August 31, 2014

“Call 911 from your wireless phone when you’re outdoors, and your location will likely be determined with relative accuracy. If you use that same smartphone indoors, however — particularly in a multi-story building — the accuracy of the call location drastically decreases”
“more and more people are ditching landlines”
“network technologies installed during the last few years made the problem worse (than before)”
“more than half of California’s wireless 911 calls are delivered without caller location information”
“accuracy of wireless calls to 911 decreased sharply between 2008 and 2013, particularly in densely populated areas”
“Existing GPS technology can be blocked or impeded by walls and ceilings when you’re indoors and by structures that block lines of sight to satellites when you’re outdoors”
“Modern GPS technology also does not indicate how far above the ground the phone is”


Machine learning and data science can make a complex device easier to use

August 30, 2014

“Up popped an alert when an employee installed Tor, software that enables online anonymity, which is sometimes used by cybercriminals to mask their whereabouts. Had the same user’s device made another suspicious move — like scanning the network for an administrator’s account and then trying to guess at her password by trying to log in multiple times — (this new security) tool would highlight the employee’s computer and inform a security officer that the employee was a threat with a high degree of certainty. Had the odd behavior stopped at Tor, it would have also been flagged, but not been perceived as an immediate threat”
“a security solution (must) provide enough credible intelligence to investigate thoroughly, so we’re not bogged down with false positives and unnecessary work”
“(this new security) tool uses machine learning and data science to listen, think and anticipate an attacker’s next move. It learns the typical traffic patterns and behaviors on a network, then remembers and correlates any abnormal behavior it has seen over days, weeks or months.”
“An employee who inadvertently clicked on an ad and installed tracking software would be flagged as a low priority and remediation issue, whereas an infected device that was being used to pull data out of the network would pop up as a high-threat priority.”
“If a complex device like the iPhone can be made easier to use, why can’t you extend that to a security product?”


high-temperature superconductivity: the anisotropic state as a moment just before the kickoff

August 1, 2014

the phenomenon (high-temperature superconductivity) is marked by zero electrical resistance in some crystalline ceramic materials below a critical temperature. While very cold, the critical temperatures for high-temperature superconductors—between 50 and 150 kelvins above absolute zero—are relatively high in comparison with the temperatures required for conventional superconductivity.

Barium iron nickel arsenide (a high-temperature superconductor) is a composite crystal.

The atoms in the crystals form an ordered pattern that looks identical in both the right-left (x-axis) and forward-back (y-axis) directions, but not in the up-down (z-axis).

At room temperature, the material acts as one might expect, conducting electricity equally well along both its x-axis and y-axis. However, as the material is cooled to near the critical temperature for magnetism, it passes through a phase where electrical resistance is higher in one direction than the other. Physicists call directionally dependent behavior “anisotropic resistance”.

Explaining anisotropic state: the analogy of a crowd gathered at a stadium to watch a sporting event:
During the game, all eyes are on the field, and this is an ordered state that describes all the individuals in the crowd in relation to one another.
This state corresponds to the collective arrangement of electrons we see in magnetism and in superconductivity. The disordered arrangement we observe at room temperature, on the other hand, corresponds to the chaos we would see in the crowd one hour before the game begins, when people are turning from side to side and occasionally glancing at the field.
The anisotropic state corresponds to a moment just before the kickoff, when the individuals are still looking in random directions but are aware that the game is about to start.
The incoming neutron pulse (that triggers an anisotropic state) is the equivalent of someone blowing a whistle on the field. For a split second, the crowd reacts as one to the whistle, and every head turns to see if the game has begun. The individuals in the crowd quickly return to their random behavior, but the whistle has revealed an order that wasn’t present an hour before.


Operation Emmental whacks European banks

July 26, 2014

“the attackers are exploiting a weakness in single-session token protection strategies. There may be a need to consider adopting other strategies, such as “use of multiple transaction authentication numbers (TANs), photo TANs, and card readers”