Connect with us

Technology

Hackers Declare War on ISIS

blank

Published

on

Anonymous-vs-isis

One of the most translucent hacker groups in the world, Anonymous, have declared cyber war on the Islamic State group in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks on Friday 13th, November. The group, who are traditionally known as deviant hackers who indulge in anarchic fun usually at the expense of large corporate targets, have now set their sights to one of the most feared organizations in the world – ISIS.

Using hacking for seemingly ethical purposes is nothing new, as a university in Scotland even offers a course in ethical hacking, whereby graduate students often go on to take roles in the private sector. Hosting companies are likely to hire ethical hacking graduates to work on their servers to ensure that they are amongst the most robust in the world. This results in companies providing servers with highly advanced and sophisticated safety measures.

Anonymous are of course not the only group of hackers who are engaged on a mission of morality, as earlier this year several racist and homophobic sites were targeted by a lone wolf hacker. The news comes as little surprise to those who are familiar with the group’s most recent actions, which included targeting high ranking Ku Klux Klan members, as well as publishing a list of the group’s members.

Anonymous announced via their Twitter page that they have already taken down almost 6,000 ISIS Twitter accounts, and would be attacking any online activity the terrorist group engage in. Anonymous made it clear that the war against ISIS will be very personal, and won’t hold back anything to disrupt the terrorist organization. “We will launch the biggest operation ever against you […] we will find you, and we will not let you go,” Anonymous said in a recent video. “Expect massive cyber attacks […] The French people are stronger than you and will come out of this atrocity even stronger.”

In addition to their latest attacks on the KKK, the group are also famous for their disruption to websites belonging to evangelical ultra-conservative Christian group, the Westboro Baptism Church, who are famous for their racial slurs and extreme views on US politics. Other targets hacked in the past by the group include the Vatican, government websites and even the CIA. Those familiar with the group are in little doubt that ISIS are fully aware of the negative impact that the announcement from Anonymous will have on their group

Although George has many hobbies, he likes nothing more than to play around with cameras and other photography equipment.

Artificial Intelligence

Boston Dynamics’ Atlas humanoid robot has transitioned to electric power

blank

Published

on

blank

Atlas is immobile, lying face down on a stack of connected gym mats. The only audio accompaniment is the humming of an electric motor. While it may not be completely silent, the noise level is significantly lower compared to the abrupt movements of its predecessors.

While the camera rotates, the robot’s legs flex at the knees. Initially, it is a spontaneous motion that gradually transitions into an eerie domain, reminiscent of scenes from a Sam Raimi film. The robot has successfully changed its position by cleverly rotating its legs, appearing as if it is lying on its back.

Atlas is positioned with its back facing the camera. Currently, the head rotates in a complete 180-degree motion, and subsequently, the torso mimics this movement. The object pauses briefly, allowing the camera to get a clear picture of its head—a circular screen with a ring-shaped light surrounding it. Once again, the torso rotates in alignment with the head’s 180-degree turn as Atlas moves away from the camera and exits the frame.

Boston Dynamics has recently announced that their humanoid robot, Atlas, has transitioned from a hydraulic system to an electric one, following in the footsteps of Bob Dylan.

The pace is rapid, with the steps still somewhat abrupt, although noticeably smoother than many of the recent commercial humanoids that have been introduced in the past few years. If anything, the gait evokes the bold self-assurance of Spot, a relative of Atlas who diverged from the humanoid lineage a few generations ago.

Brand new Atlas

The latest iteration of the robot is nearly indistinguishable. The top-heavy torso, bowed legs, and plated armor have been eliminated. There are no visible cables present on the sleek and slender new mechanical framework. The company, which has successfully defended against reactionary concerns about robopocalypse for many years, has chosen a more compassionate and considerate design compared to both the original Atlas and more modern robots such as the Figure 01 and Tesla Optimus.

The new robot’s appearance is more similar to that of Agility’s Digit and Apptronik’s Phoenix. The traffic-light-headed robot features a gentler and more whimsical design. According to the video, it is referred to as the “All New Atlas.” Boston Dynamics has deviated from its usual practice by retaining the research name for a product that it intends to market commercially. SpotMini was renamed Spot. The handle was transformed into a stretch. Currently, Atlas remains unchanged and is still referred to as Atlas.

“We may reconsider this when we are fully prepared to construct and distribute on a large scale,” states Boston Dynamics CEO Robert Playter in an interview with. “However, I believe that at present, it is beneficial to preserve the branding.”

The executive’s statement reveals the project is still in its initial phases. Boston Dynamics intends to start pilot testing of the electric Atlas at Hyundai facilities soon, with full-scale production following in a few years.

“Starting next year, we will be conducting on-site experiments with Hyundai,” states Playter. “We currently possess Hyundai equipment at our location.” We have been engaged in this task for a considerable period of time. In order to achieve success, it is imperative to possess a plethora of attributes beyond merely possessing innovative technology. In order to justify the investment in a robot, it is crucial to fully comprehend the use case and ensure that there is enough productivity to make it worthwhile.

Performing a complete reversal

blank

The most remarkable aspect of the 40-second “All New Atlas” teaser is the robot’s motions. They serve as a reminder that constructing a humanoid robot does not necessitate maximizing its human-like qualities. Despite billions of years of evolution, as one investor pointed out in the past, humans have not yet perfected themselves as machines. If we are going to design machines that resemble us, why not construct ones that possess capabilities beyond our own?

“We have constructed a collection of bespoke actuators that are powerful and adaptable, installed at the majority of joints,” states Playter. “The range of motion is extensive.” The compact design of this robot effectively harnesses the strength and agility of an exceptional athlete, allowing us to utilize its capabilities in various applications.

It is important to remember that Boston Dynamics has built its reputation through a series of popular videos over the course of many years. New additions to the canon are equally likely to feature a robot’s dance moves as they are to offer anything truly practical in an industrial environment. Therefore, it is challenging to separate the features that the company considers genuinely functional from those that are merely intended to impress.

Commencing in the prone position, for example, provides an opportunity to demonstrate the impressive reverse crab leg maneuver while also serving a practical purpose. Boston Dynamics proudly demonstrated in the farewell video of the hydraulic Atlas that falling down is an inherent aspect of its function, as is the ability to recover and stand up again. In reality, the majority of the current generation of industrial robots necessitates human intervention in the event of a failure. Conversely, a robot that can autonomously remove dust from its surface and resume its tasks is highly advantageous for enhancing productivity.

The system’s agility significantly enhances its potential for productivity. It reminds me of Agility’s Digit demonstrations (the company is notably the only one of its kind demonstrating systems at this magnitude), in which a robot walks to a shelf, rotates, walks to the conveyor belt, rotates again, and walks back. When you multiply that task by hundreds, or even thousands, per day, you start to realize the importance of saving valuable seconds.

“It will possess a range of movements that surpass human capabilities,” Playter explains. “There will be highly utilitarian applications for that.”

Minimizing the robot’s turning radius is crucial in confined areas. These machines are intended to be brownfield solutions, meaning they are specifically designed to be seamlessly integrated into pre-existing workflows within existing spaces. Enhanced maneuverability could ultimately determine whether one can effectively operate in a particular environment or if the layout needs to be redone.

Cranium and upper extremities

blank

The hands featured in the video are not newly created, as they have previously been used on the hydraulic model. However, they also signify the company’s choice to not strictly adhere to human design as a guiding principle. The distinction lies in the choice of using three fingers instead of four on the end effectors.

“A hand contains a great deal of intricacy,” states Playter. When using actuators to interact with the world, it is essential to anticipate and ensure both reliability and robustness. Therefore, we intentionally designed these objects with less than five fingers in order to manage and reduce their level of complexity. We are currently investigating various generations of individuals. We desire a grasping mechanism that adheres to regulations and is capable of adjusting to various shapes while possessing advanced sensing capabilities to accurately detect contact.

Internally, the head is likely the most controversial element of the design. The large, circular screen bears resemblance to a vanity mirror.

“It was a design element that we were greatly concerned about,” says Playter. “All the other individuals possessed a humanoid form.” I desired it to be distinct. We desire a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. It offers a range of colors for a visual presentation. Undoubtedly, the object contains concealed sensors, but its design primarily aims to convey a sense of amicability. That knowledge will be crucial for effectively engaging with these entities in the future.

A Christmas Atlas

blank

The landscape has undergone significant changes in the past decade since the hydraulic Atlas was first introduced. There are several other companies, such as Figure, Apptronik, Tesla, and 1X, that also have humanoid robots like Electric Atlas.

There has been a significant increase in interest from our end. Three significant events, in my opinion, are what have caused the increase. Hyundai paid almost one billion dollars to acquire Boston Dynamics. That really caught everyone’s attention, making them realize there was a way out. Tesla’s expression of interest in manufacturing has confirmed the validity of our long-standing efforts. Furthermore, the rise of AI as a valuable tool in addressing general challenges is making all of this possible. We have taken our time to make this announcement, as we wanted to conduct thorough research to ensure that we can effectively address manipulation issues and have full confidence in our new generation of machines.

Despite Boston Dynamics’ significant advantage in the field of humanoids, Playter mentions that the company managed to assemble the initial version of the new robot around Christmas 2023. Prior to that, it was addressing numerous intricate issues in simulation.

This week, it appears that the company is prepared to showcase the capabilities of the robot, or at least provide a glimpse into its initial plans for the system.

Intelligence in a broad sense
One thing that can be said about Elon Musk is that he consistently makes ambitious commitments. During the initial stages of Optimus’ public debut, when the Tesla ‘bot seemed to resemble a human in spandex, the executive discussed a comprehensive system capable of performing various tasks. Imagine having an Optimus that can handle your factory work, run errands, and even prepare a delicious dinner for you. That’s the aspiration, isn’t it?

The reality is, of course, one that is built upon taking small steps forward. Robotics companies are currently engaged in discussions about “general-purpose humanoids,” but their systems are currently focused on scaling one task at a time. For many individuals, the primary objective is to transport payloads from one location to another. To fully leverage the form factor, a broader level of intelligence will be necessary.

The app store model seems to offer the most straightforward solution. Developer access has indeed played a significant role in expanding Spot’s range of features. According to Playter, Boston Dynamics has a different approach in mind for Atlas.

“We will focus on developing an application rather than creating a platform,” he states. In our experience, the key to making progress quickly is to prioritize a specific application and actively work towards solving any challenges that arise. We cannot rely on others to solve these problems for us. I believe that AI is a crucial component in this context. To ensure the efficiency of tasks, they will be enhanced with AI techniques.

Developers now have access to Spot’s reinforcement learning algorithm, thanks to the company’s recent decision. This work will be crucial for Atlas’ expanding skillset.

Thinking creatively

In order to achieve success, Playter emphasizes the importance of thinking outside the box.

“I believe there are numerous other robots capable of accomplishing that,” he remarks. Humanoids should be capable of handling a wide range of tasks. You have two hands. As a business owner, you need to be able to handle intricate and heavy geometric shapes that a basic box picker wouldn’t be able to manage. And you have to handle a massive volume of these shapes, numbering in the hundreds of thousands. I believe the era of the single-task robot is long gone. Stretch is a unique application where a robot can efficiently navigate and handle boxes.

What other responsibilities will the new Atlas have on the Hyundai show floor, similar to those of a business owner? The company shared a video in February that contains the solution. The video shows the hydraulic version of the robot interacting with the Hyundai parts that Playter previously mentioned.

“With our extensive experience in the field of dynamic mobility, we possess the strength and expertise to handle substantial payloads while ensuring exceptional mobility,” he explains. Being able to handle heavy, complex, and massive objects will set us apart from the competition. The strut in the video likely weighs around 25 pounds. Acquiring wheels: we will be releasing a video later on as part of our comprehensive initiative, showcasing the various manipulation tasks we have been conducting with Atlas using real-world objects. I’m quite certain we have a good grasp on how to handle that aspect, and I haven’t observed anyone else attempting it thus far.

Continue Reading

Science

Amateur astronomers took a picture of the first supernova in a galaxy 22 million light-years away

blank

Published

on

blank

Not long after one of the closest supernovae of the century was found, another one just a little farther away has shown up. Professional pictures of the star exploding have not been released yet, but amateur pictures are filling in the gaps. However, many of the amateurs live too far north to be able to take part.

Since the invention of the telescope, there haven’t been any supernova explosions in our galaxy, though there might be some that are dust-obscured. Adding 1987a to our local group of galaxies is the only one that astronomers have seen in their entire careers. That’s a shame, because these are some of the coolest and most useful astronomical events, and a galaxy the size of the Milky Way should have one about every hundred years.

That makes the next ring of galaxies beyond the local group even more important. This century, there have been five galaxies that are 22 million light-years away or less. This new one, SN 2024ggi, was seen for the first time on April 11 and may still be getting brighter.

Last year, small telescopes were able to see the most recent nearby supernova, 2023xf. As an added bonus, it was in the Pinwheel galaxy, which is always a popular place for amateur astronomers to look.

SN 2024ggi is in NGC 3621, which isn’t quite as impressive because we see it all the way along one edge. Even so, if you have a good enough telescope, it’s still a beautiful sight. NGC 3621 is 22 million light-years away, which is a million more than the Pinwheel. However, these numbers aren’t exactly accurate, so it’s possible that it’s a little closer. Both are going almost the opposite way. The pinwheel is so far to the north that it never sets in Europe or most of North America. While NGC 3621 is at 33 degrees south, it’s almost impossible to see from Britain and can only be seen for a short time from most of the US.

Magnitude is a measure of how bright a star is. Magnitudes 5 and below can be seen with the naked eye in dark skies, while magnitudes above 5 get fainter.

ATLAS, which stands for the Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System, made the new find. ATLAS’ main job is to look for space rocks close by. With four telescopes on three continents, it now finds more supernovae than any other sky survey. When it was found, SN 2024ggi was about 19th magnitude, which means that backyard astronomers would need a very large telescope.

That’s not unusual; just this year, dozens of supernovae were recorded at 16th or 14th magnitude. However, because they were so far away, very few got brighter than that. At the same brightness, 2023ixf was seen, but it got brighter by more than a hundred times and reached its brightest point at 10.9. It has gone down to 12th magnitude after almost a year.

Many people say that 2024 g is brighter than a 12th magnitude star nearby, even though official records show that it is getting brighter to 14th magnitude. There would be a lot more people with the right tools to catch it if that’s the case.

Five supernovae have been seen in the Pinwheel galaxy since 1900 because it is so busy making new stars. This is the first supernova seen in NGC 3621.

Continue Reading

Astronomy

The Ingenuity team at NASA has received their last communication, however, the Mars helicopter is still operational

blank

Published

on

blank

The NASA Ingenuity team said goodbye to the helicopter robot and got one last message before splitting up. But ingenuity isn’t really dead yet; it will still be collecting data on Mars.

It’s a great little robot, and in April 2021, it was the first to fly powered and controlled on a planet other than Earth. That’s not easy to do because conditions on Mars are so different.

“The Red Planet has a much lower gravity—one-third that of Earth’s—and an extremely thin atmosphere with only 1% of Earth’s pressure at the surface,” NASA said in a press release after Ingenuity’s first flight. “This means there are relatively few air molecules with which Ingenuity’s two 4-foot-wide (1.2-meter-wide) rotor blades can interact to achieve flight.”

It was planned for the helicopter, which was really just a prototype, to make five flights over 30 days on Mars. Instead, it made 72 flights over 1,000 days. NASA started to use it to get a bird’s-eye view of Mars and find interesting places for Perseverance to go back and look at more closely.

On the 72nd flight, unfortunately, Ingenuity had to make an emergency landing and lost touch with Perseverance. When they got in touch again, pictures from the helicopter showed that a rotor was badly damaged, so Ingenuity would not be able to fly again.

blank

Even though the helicopter can’t fly anymore, it can still gather information and send it to Perseverance. Perseverance then sends the information to Earth through NASA’s Deep Space Network. Before the Ingenuity team broke up, they got one last message from Ingenuity and ate cake to celebrate.

“I’m sorry, Dylan Thomas, but Ingenuity will not be going gently into that good Martian night,” said Josh Anderson, lead of the Ingenuity team at JPL. “It’s hard to believe that she still has something to give after more than 1,000 days on Mars’ surface, 72 flights, and one rough landing.” Because of how hard this amazing team worked, not only did Ingenuity do better than we thought it would, but it may also teach us new things in the years to come.

After stopping in “Valinor Hills” to rest, the robot’s job will be to gather data while it’s still, hopefully learning useful things about the planet’s environment before future missions with people.

Continue Reading

Trending