It’s No Myth, Cocaine Was Once An Important Ingredient In Coca Cola.

It’s No Myth, Cocaine Was Once an Important Ingredient in Coca Cola.

Near-Death Experiencers Shouldn’t Be Treated as Crazy: Healthcare Workers Discuss

A panel of healthcare workers discussed as part of a panel at the IANDs 2014 Conference how near-death experiences are received by their colleagues. Among the panelists were Dr. J. Timothy Green (top left), Lee Witting (moderator, bottom left), and Erica McKenzie (right). (Background image via Shutterstock*)

A panel of healthcare workers discussed as part of a panel at the IANDs 2014 Conference how near-death experiences are received by their colleagues. Among the panelists were Dr. J. Timothy Green (top left), Lee Witting (moderator, bottom left), and Erica McKenzie (right).

In Beyond Science, Epoch Times explores research and accounts related to phenomena and theories that challenge our current knowledge. We delve into ideas that stimulate the imagination and open up new possibilities. Share your thoughts with us on these sometimes controversial topics in the comments section below.

Erica McKenzie is a registered nurse who has not only seen many patients come back from the brink of death with reports of experiencing the other side, but who has also had her own profound near-death experience.

McKenzie spent months in a psychiatric facility after telling a doctor about her experience. Without any previous history of mental illness, at the age of 31, she found herself on high doses of medication and separated from her children. She learned she had to lie to have her medication decreased and to eventually be released.

When the staff at the facility would ask her, “How are you today? Did you go to heaven?” she learned to reply that she hadn’t, even though she felt deeply her vivid experience of the afterlife.

Healthcare professionals discussed how to better approach patients reporting near-death experiences (NDEs), as part of a panel at the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDs) 2014 Conference, August 28–31. While there are people who have hallucinations and need certain treatments to function well and live healthy lives, noted some psychiatrists at the event, NDEs should not necessarily be lumped in with such hallucinations.

NDEs are fairly common among people who’ve had brushes with death. Reports of communication with angels or deceased people, whether as part of an NDE or otherwise, shouldn’t be immediately discounted as hallucinations, the healthcare workers said.

Panel moderator Lee Witting, who hosts NDE Radio and is also a hospital chaplain, said: “You wouldn’t disrespect a Catholic, or a Protestant, or a Jew, or a Muslim for their beliefs, would you? Then why do it to someone who’s had a personal, mystical experience?”

The panelists, immersed in the healthcare community, could testify that many doctors and other professionals are open to the idea that NDEs are genuine. While the most common reaction is to immediately dismiss what the patient says as a dream or hallucination, these panelists found that after discussing NDEs with doctors and educating them, they became more receptive and even enthusiastic about the NDEs reported by their patients.

Julijan Naskov, MD, said he has encouraged his colleagues to record with him privately the NDEs they have heard. While they won’t necessarily openly discuss NDEs, the doctors are comfortable with this method.

Psychiatrist J. Timothy Green said he gave an atheist neurologist he knows a copy of Dr. Eben Alexander’s book, “Proof of Heaven.” Alexander has been an academic neurosurgeon for more than 25 years, including work at Harvard Medical School in Boston. He thought that NDEs were fantasies produced by the brain until he had his own. After reading Alexander’s book, the doctor became more open to at least hearing his patients describe their experiences. This doctor enthusiastically told Green of one NDE he heard: a patient in her 60s saw her dead father standing in front of a bright light. She wanted intensely to go to the light, but her father said it’s not the right time. She tried to run around her father as she did when she was a little girl, but he caught her in his arms and told her she can’t go into the light yet.

Many elderly NDEers are slapped with the “dementia” label, said psychologist Liz Dale. She works with patients at San Francisco General Hospital and in nursing homes. When she encounters an NDEer, she removes “dementia” from the file after assessing the patient if the NDE is the only reason that diagnosis has been given.

“I think it’s unfair to say that somebody who is in a spiritual emergence or who just had an NDE or is noticing somebody is helping them to cross over, that they should then be diagnosed with a cognitive deficit—that’s what I’m against,” Dale said.

Near-Death Experience
Concept image of a near-death experience 

An audience member who works as a psychologist pointed out that about 15 years ago there was an effort to get “spiritual emergence” officially recognized and included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) that guides professionals in diagnosis. It was a failed effort.

Jan Holden of the University of North Texas said a recent study of hers, which has just been accepted for publication in an American Psychological Association journal, looks at how NDEs are received by healthcare professionals.

She examined 188 cases in which NDEers disclosed their experience to healthcare providers. The majority, 4 out of 5, received positive or neutral responses. The 1 out of 5 that received negative responses were often those who impulsively told healthcare providers about their NDE right away. The most positive cases were those in which the NDEer waited to talk about it, waited perhaps until they gauged an appropriate and receptive environment.

Krista Gorman, a physician’s assistant and NDEer, waited more than a decade to openly discuss her experience. “I was terrified of sharing it,” she said.

When she told her boss, a head doctor at the hospital where she works, that she was coming to the IANDs conference to discuss her NDE, he was supportive. He said, “I mean, I believe in all that,” recalled Gorman with a laugh.

As she’s opened up about her experience to her colleagues, she’s had mixed responses. “The responses that I focus on, that I give my attention and energy to, are the supportive ones,” she said.

An audience member who works as a psychiatrist in Vancouver, Canada, warned against going to extremes by looking down on all doctors who dismiss or react negatively to NDEs. “We have to be careful that we don’t get into polarization,” she said. “We’re all learning together.” She has found through her efforts to educate healthcare workers in Vancouver about NDEs that many react positively and are more open to listening to their patients’ experiences.


Did a Giant Cosmic Lightning Bolt Hit Mars? Could One Hit Earth?


In Beyond Science, Epoch Times explores research and accounts related to phenomena and theories that challenge our current knowledge. We delve into ideas that stimulate the imagination and open up new possibilities. Share your thoughts with us on these sometimes controversial topics in the comments section below.

As we study natural phenomenon with deeper scrutiny, using new techniques and technology, we discover that many of our old theories and notions suddenly no longer fit our observations and experiments.

This was the case for scientists who, when searching for the origin of terrestrial lightning, discovered that storm clouds don’t produce the energy levels needed to generate a bolt of lightning.

“A thunderstorm has got the energy of an atomic bomb,” said Dr. Martin Uman, director of the International Center for Lightning Testing and Research at Camp Blanding in Florida, in a NOVA Science Now interview by PBS.

“The problem is, after decades and decades of measurements up in thunderstorms, nobody has ever managed to find an electric field anywhere that big,” said Joseph Dwyer, Ph.D, a professor of physics and space sciences the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT).

Dr. Dwyer postulated in 2005 that the energy required for such a reaction to occur came not from within our atmosphere, but from cosmic rays sent from dying stars far out in the depths of outer space.

His team at FIT, armed with Dwyer’s research, successfully detected the x-ray signature in storm clouds needed to strengthen his theory. They used advanced technical instruments and balloons sent out during storms, to gather the data he needed.

Data gathered by NASA’s Voyager 1 space probe after it passed the threshold of our solar system shook many conventional ideas. It became apparent that the electromagnetic forces at large emanating from the galaxy have a stronger impact on our sun and solar system than originally thought.

Was Mars Once Struck by a Gigantic Cosmic Lightning Bolt?

Valles Marineris
An enormous canyon on Mars, Valles Marineris, is seen in the center of this Mars image. Some scientists hypothesize that it was created by a giant lightning bolt from outer space.

It’s hard to imagine a bolt of lightning on the cosmic scale, but several scientists with backgrounds in studying electricity believe that the planet Mars may have been struck by a cosmic bolt of lightning, which deeply scared the surface of the red planet.

Valles Marineris on Mars is one of the solar system’s largest canyons. By comparison, the Grand Canyon in Arizona is approximately 500 miles (or 800 kilometers) in length and about 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) deep. Valles Marineris is 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) long and about 4 miles (7 kilometers) deep, according to NASA.
The origin Valles Marineris remains unknown. The current leading hypothesis holds it to be a gigantic crack in the Martian crust that occurred as the planet cooled billions of years ago. Additionally, many of the canyon’s channels are believed to be eroded by water.

Scientists at the Thunderbolts Project propose, however, that a lightning bolt on a gigantic or cosmic scale may have caused the gigantic canyon. A main point of their supposition includes the fact that Valles Marineris’ trenches are unlike Earthly canyons which wind and curve as a result of the water erosion cutting its way through time.

The Thunderbolts Project compares the Valles Marineris to laboratory electrocutions of various materials which shows the same patterns in the scars they leave. Namely, the scar is a singular rift or primary discharge channel with numerous secondary discharge streamers, which are believed to be the tributaries of the Marian canyon, according to the Thunderbolts Project documentary “Symbols of an Alien Sky (Episode 2): The Lightning Scarred Planet” (see video above).

When an electric arc cuts a channel into solid matter, it leaves a specific pattern. This channel and streamer pattern can be seen repeating itself in nature. It is emulated by the scars on the bodies of people struck by lighting.

Additionally, the project cites the abundance of rock and boulder material observed littered across the Martian landscape in the images sent from our rovers as evidence in support of their hypothesis of a cosmic lightning strike. The magnitude of a strike needed to cut the Valles Marineris would have ejected countless cubic yards of rocky debris into space, much of which would have come back down to litter the landscape.

Why you should never eat after 7pm

Adults should never eat within two hours of bedtime – and ideally nothing after 7pm. 

Eating late at night is putting millions of people in danger of heart attacks and strokes, experts warn.

A late-night meal keeps the body on “high alert” when it should be winding down, researchers found.

Heart experts last night advised that adults should never eat within two hours of bedtime – and ideally nothing after 7pm.

In a healthy person, blood pressure drops by at least 10 per cent when they go to sleep.

But the results of a study of more than 700 people with high blood pressure found that eating within two hours of bedtime meant their levels stayed high.

Experts think this is because eating releases a rush of stress hormones when the body should be starting to relax.

People who do not see their blood pressure fall at night are known as ‘non-dippers’ – and have a much higher rate of heart-related death.

Late eaters were nearly three times more likely to be non-dippers, the Turkish researchers found.

Researcher Dr Ebru Özpelit, presenting her results at the speaking at the European Society of Cardiology congress in Rome, said: ‘If we eat late at night, the body essentially remains on high alert as during the day, rather than relaxing for sleep.

“Stress hormones are secreted, causing blood pressure not to decrease during sleep, which should normally happen.”

Dr Özpelit, from Dokuz Eylül University in Turkey, tracked 721 on people diagnosed with high blood pressure, with an average age of 53.

She found that those who ate within two hours of going to bed were 2.8 times more likely to retain high blood pressure overnight.

Some 9.4 million people in the UK are diagnosed with high blood pressure, which is also known as hypertension.

They are already at a higher risk of heart disease, but if their blood pressure does not fall at night, that risk increases to a far higher level.

Experts estimate that 40 per cent of patients with hypertension are non-dippers – potentially 3.76 million people in Britain – putting them at serious risk of major heart problems.

Dr Özpelit said: “It is more dangerous. If blood pressure doesn’t drop by more than 10 per cent this increases cardiovascular risk and these patients have more heart attacks, strokes and chronic disease.”

But even healthy people with normal blood pressure should take note of the findings, Dr Özpelit said.

“How we eat may be as important as what we eat,” she said.

She advised that people do not skip breakfast, eat lunch, and keep dinner to a small meal.

“Eating breakfast and lunch is important but dinner must not be later than seven o’clock in the evening,” she said.

The findings add to a growing body of evidence which suggests keeping all meals to within a fixed period of time – and fasting at night – can have a wide range of health benefits.

Previous research has found that an early dinner reduces the risk of breast cancer, lowers blood sugar levels, and helps burn off calories.

Experts think part of the reason is that the body evolved to expect meals much earlier in the day – because people went to sleep when it got dark.

Dr Özpelit said the invention of electricity changed that – introducing “erratic” eating patterns.

“With the advent of affordable artificial lighting and industrialization, modern humans began to experience prolonged hours of illumination every day and resultant extended consumption of food,” she said.

“Late night eating and skipping breakfast is such an erratic eating pattern which is becoming more prevalent day by day.”

Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, said: “This research suggests that eating a meal late at night may contribute to the failure of their blood pressure to reduce.

“It is normal for blood pressure to reduce overnight, even in people with high blood pressure.

“However, in some their blood pressure remains elevated throughout the night putting them at potentially higher risk of future complications.”

There’s an easy way to tell if you’re talking to an expert or a faker.

Albert Einstein

The difference between experts and fakers is that experts don’t know that much. Fakers, on the other hand, know everything – or at least they think they do.When your job is to write about science, you end up talking to a lot of experts and a (hopefully smaller) number of people who are making things up as they go along.

Experts are frustrating. They stand on top of mountains of knowledge, only to point at the horizon and say There’s so much we have yet to discover!

It makes them skittish, consumed with their own ignorance. They speak in precise, limited language.

One scientist (whose name I will not use due to an ongoing legal case) was asked to identify for police a man who had attacked him in his own home. He pointed to the man and said “To the best of my knowledge, that’s him.”

Later, the police questioned why he wasn’t 100% sure that the man with the face of their attacker was his attacker. He said, “I’m not 100% sure of anything.”

This is not how normal people talk. And it’s certainly not how fakers talk.

I get emails several times a week from people who think they’ve “proven” climate change is a hoax. I ignore all of them – not only because over the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change but because of the absolutely confident tone with which they’re almost always written.

Real climate scientists never talk that way, though in a field with suchoverwhelming consensus you couldn’t blame them if they did. Instead, they’ll point to the enormous degree of peer review and replication success in their field, then carefully explain all the questions they have yet to answer.

I’ll give you another example.

Ancient Ruins with a Great Arch and a Column

Recently, I interviewed Sean Downey for an article about why societies collapse. Downey’s an archaeologist. He uses statistical methods to examine Neolithic European civilization, and he’s developed a robust set of mathematical tools for differentiating “resilient” and not resilient populations.

My problem in getting ready to write about his work is that the civilizations Downey studies all died out eons before recorded history. So I asked Downey to offer some modern examples of resilient and non-resilient populations.

He paused. My recording of our conversation shows he was silent for sixteen seconds before he said that 20th Century England might-maybe-possibly-I guess be a resilient society. He explained why, then qualified the analogy with several caveats.

To be clear, Downey is more qualified than almost anyone else on the planet to comment on whether a society is or isn’t resilient. He’s studied and cultivated theories of societal collapse for years. But he wasn’t willing to offer even a hint of an opinion he wasn’t sure he could back up with empirical data.

Fakers have opinions on everything. Ask them a question, no matter how nuanced, and they’ll have a sure, ready answer – sometimes about topics you didn’t ask about in the first place.

Climate change is a hoax. So-and-so will win exactly 56% of the vote in tomorrow’s election. No one will listen to rap music in twenty years. Invest in this company and you’ll get rich.

This, I suspect, is the essential difference between the sorts of thought that lead to major discoveries and the sorts that don’t.

Experts – and people with the tools to become experts – assume their own ignorance and look for ways to poke holes in common ideas. And so they ask better questions.

I wonder whether dogs really understand human speech? How much will fighting climate change cost? Has weed really gotten stronger?

But if you approach a topic with a fully-developed theory of the case, it’s harder to ask any questions beyond those that would validate your preconceptions.

A caveat: Plenty of people are experts in one subject and fakers in others. It’s common, in my experience, for scientists to talk with much more confidence about subjects outside their fields than the subjects they’ve spent years actually studying.

And, finally, another caveat: I’m clearly not an expert in expertise – just look at the hubris and overconfidence dripping from this article! But this is a rubric I find useful. Take it or leave it.

Child starts gender transition before first day of kindergarten.

A four-year-old child who identifies as transgender has begun to transition before their first day of kindergarten.

The child, who is unidentified for privacy purposes, is part of the Safe Schools program and hopes to complete the full gender transformation by next year.

But psychologists have questioned whether the preschooler is too young as gender transition among young children skyrockets, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The Education Department would not reveal whether the child was born a boy or girl.

A four-year-old child who identifies as transgender has begun to transition before their first day of kindergarten (stock image)

A four-year-old child who identifies as transgender has begun to transition before their first day of kindergarten

While the four-year-old is the youngest Australian on record changing their gender, hundreds of other children and their parents have sought advice from the gender dysphoria unit.

The Westmead Children’s Hospital in Sydney has had referral patients at its gender service department triple.

‘We have a number of students who are going through gender transition in our schools, with the youngest being a four-year-old at the moment,’ the Educations Department’s deputy secretary of school operations Gregory Prior said.

However 250 children – some as young as three – have made appointments with the gender dysphoria unit at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital.

But just 10 years ago the unit had only logged one young patients.

‘There is a huge difference between dress-ups and a child believing with every fibre of their being they are in the wrong body,’ child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg told The Daily Telegraph.

But Australian of the Year finalist and transgender advocate Catherine McGregor said she would be concerned an ‘irreversible’ decision could be made as the children are so young.

The child, who is unidentified for privacy purposes, is part of the Safe Schools program and hopes to complete the full gender transformation by next year (stock image)

The child, who is unidentified for privacy purposes, is part of the Safe Schools program and hopes to complete the full gender transformation by next year .

250 children - some as young as three - have made appointments with the gender dysphoria unit at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital (pictured)


Silicon nanoparticles trained to juggle light

Research findings prove the capabilities of silicon nanoparticles for flexible data processing in optical communication systems

Silicon nanoparticles based devices would allow to transmit, reflect, or scatter incident light in a specified direction, depending on its intensity. They could be integrated into microchips that would enable ultrafast all-optical signal processing in optical communication lines and the next generation optical computers.

Electromagnetic antenna in transmitting (a) and receiving (b) modes.

A team of physicists from ITMO University (Saint Petersburg) and Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) has demonstrated the potential of silicon nanoparticles for effective non-linear light manipulation. Their work lays the foundation for the development of novel optical devices with a wide range of functionalities. These silicon nanoparticles based devices would allow to transmit, reflect, or scatter incident light in a specified direction, depending on its intensity. They could be integrated into microchips that would enable ultrafast all-optical signal processing in optical communication lines and the next generation optical computers.

Non-linear antennas

Electromagnetic waves of a wide spectral range are used to transmit information: from radio waves that carry radio signals over the air to infrared radiation and visible light used in telecommunications to transfer data through fibre optics. An essential component of any equipment that relies on electromagnetic waves for information transmission and processing is a device called the antenna, which is designed to either receive or transmit signals in a particular direction. It is often the case that incoming signals need to be flexibly processed. This requires the use of a reconfigurable antenna, i.e. one whose characteristics (e.g. its radiation pattern) can be changed in a specific manner during signal processing. One possible solution relies on the use of a non-linear antenna, which can be switched by the incident light itself.

Denis Baranov, a PhD student at MIPT and one of the authors of the study, comments on the research findings: ‘It is a top priority — and at the same time a major challenge — to develop such tuneable antennas operating at infrared and optical frequencies. Nowadays, we can already transmit information through fibre optics at incredible speeds of up to hundreds of Gbit/s. However, silicon-based electronics are unable to process the incoming data at that rate. Non-linear nanoantennas that work at optical wavelengths could help us to resolve this problem and make ultrafast all-optical signal processing possible.’

Silicon nanoparticles

To demonstrate non-linear switching, the authors of the paper, which was published in ACS Photonics, have studied a dielectric nanoantenna — an optically resonant spherical nanoparticle made of silicon. While spherical particles of all sizes show resonances, it is the size of the particle that determines its resonant wavelength. The first of these resonances, which can be observed at the longest wavelength, is the magnetic dipole resonance. Incident light of a certain wavelength induces a circular electric current in the particle, similar to the current that flows in a closed circuit. Because silicon has a high refractive index, particles with diameters approaching 100 nm will already show the magnetic dipole resonance at optical frequencies, making them useful for enhancing various optical effects at the nanoscale. The team has used silicon nanosphere resonances to enhance Raman scattering in an earlier study, which is detailed in another article.

The optical properties of a non-linear silicon nanoantenna are manipulated by means of electron plasma generation. As silicon is a semiconductor, there are almost no electrons in its conduction band under normal conditions. However, exposing it to a laser pulse of high intensity and very short duration (≈100 femtoseconds, i.e. about 10⁻¹³ or one ten-trillionth of a second) excites the electrons into the conduction band. This significantly alters the properties of the material as well as the behaviour of the silicon nanoantenna itself, causing it to scatter light in the direction of the incident pulse. Thus, by exposing a particle to a short and intense pulse, its behaviour as an antenna can be dynamically controlled.

In order to demonstrate ultrafast nanoantenna switching, the authors of the study carried out a series of experiments, which involved the irradiation of an array of silicon nanoparticles with a short and intense laser pulse and a continuous measurement of their transmittance. The researchers observed that the transmission coefficient of a structure changed by several per cent within 100 femtoseconds and then gradually returned to its initial value.

On the basis of the experimental results, the researchers went on to develop an analytical model that describes the ultrafast non-linear dynamics of the nanoantenna examined in the study, as well as the generation and relaxation of electron plasma in silicon. According to the model, a radical change in the scattering diagram of the antenna occurs within a very short period of time — on the order of 100 femtoseconds. Before the pulse arrival, the amount of energy scattered by the particle in the forward direction is nearly the same as in the backward direction. However, driven by a short pulse, the antenna switches to almost perfectly unidirectional forward-scattering. Theoretical predictions backed by the experimental data suggest that an antenna of this kind would have a bandwidth of about 250 Gbit/s, whereas conventional silicon-based electronics rely on components with bandwidths limited to only tens of Gbit/s.

Concluding remarks: there’s more to come

The experiments performed by the authors of the study have demonstrated ultrafast nanoantenna switching between different light scattering modes, which is caused by the interaction of an intense laser pulse with the silicon of the nanostructure. The researchers have developed an analytical theory describing the behaviour of such non-linear nanoantennas.

‘The research shows that silicon nanoparticles might well become the basis for developing ultrafast optical nanodevices. Our model can be used to design nanostructures containing silicon particles that are more complex, which would enable us to manipulate light in a most unusual way. For example, we hope to eventually control not just the amplitude of an optical signal but also its direction. We expect to be able to “turn” it by a specified angle on an ultrafast timescale,’ says Sergey Makarov, a senior researcher at the Department (Chair) of Nanophotonics and Metamaterials of the ITMO University.

Extending battery life for mobile devices: ‘Braidio’ tech lets mobile devices share power

Computer science researchers have introduced a new radio technology that allows small mobile devices to take advantage of battery power in larger devices nearby for communication.

Battery size in portable devices is proportional to their size. The larger the device, the larger its battery; a laptop battery is roughly a thousand times larger than one in a fitness tracker, a hundred times larger than in a smartwatch, and 10 times larger than in a cell phone. A newly developed ‘radio’ can let devices share battery power, so in the future, thin mobile devices like watches may be able to be made even thinner, drawing power from larger nearby electronic devices.

In a paper presented today at the Association for Computing Machinery’s special interest group on data communication (SIGCOMM) conference in Florianópolis, Brazil, a team of computer science researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst led by professor Deepak Ganesan introduced a new radio technology that allows small mobile devices to take advantage of battery power in larger devices nearby for communication.

Ganesan and his graduate students in the College of Information and Computer Sciences, Pan Hu, Pengyu Zhang and Mohammad Rostami, designed and are testing a prototype radio that could help to extend the life of batteries in small, mass-market mobile devices such as fitness trackers and smartwatches. They hope using “energy offload” techniques may help to make these devices smaller and lighter in the future.

Ganesan and colleagues have dubbed the new technology Braidio for “braid of radios,” and say it can extend battery life hundreds of times in some cases.

As he explains, battery size in portable devices is proportional to their size. The larger the device, the larger its battery; a laptop battery is roughly a thousand times larger than one in a fitness tracker, a hundred times larger than in a smartwatch, and 10 times larger than in a cell phone. However, these devices can’t take advantage of the differences. For example, Ganesan says, “the battery on your smart watch cannot survive longer by taking advantage of the higher battery level on your smartphone.”

“We take for granted the ability to offload storage and computation from our relatively limited personal computers to the resource-rich cloud,” he adds. “In the same vein, it makes sense that devices should also be able to offload how much power they consume for communication to devices that have more energy.”

In the paper presented today, to be published in the conference proceedings, the researchers show that they have made strides toward fixing this problem, designing a radio that has the ability to offload energy to larger devices nearby and, in effect, making both device size and battery consumption proportional to the size of battery.

To achieve this, they embellished Bluetooth, a commonly-used radio technology, with the ability to operate in a similar manner to radio-frequency identification (RFID), which operates asymmetrically. That is, a reader does most of the work and pays the majority of the energy cost of communication, while a tag, typically embedded in a smaller device or object, is extremely power-efficient.

Braidio operates like a standard Bluetooth radio when a device has sufficient energy, but operates like RFID when energy is low, offloading energy use to a device with a larger battery when needed. So, when a smartwatch and smartphone are equipped with Braidios, they can work together to proportionally share the energy consumed for communication, they explain.

Hu says their Braidio test results show that when a device with a small battery is transmitting to a device with large battery, Braidio can offer roughly 400 times longer battery life than Bluetooth, since the smaller device’s battery is preserved longer.

“To be clear, our results only cover the cost of communication or transmitting data,” Hu adds. “If a radio is transmitting from a camera that consumes hundreds of milliwatts while using its sensor, clearly the sensors may dominate total power consumption and reduce the benefits of optimizing the radio.”

The team designed Braidio’s radio frequency front end so that it could operate in different modes while consuming power comparable to a Bluetooth radio and using simple, low-cost components. They also designed algorithms that monitor the channel and energy at the transmitter and receiver and switch dynamically between modes to accomplish power-proportional communication without sacrificing throughput. With further optimization, the researchers believe Braidio or similar radios can be made smaller and more efficient for mass-market needs.

Ganesan says that technologies like Braidio open up a new way of thinking about the design of mobile and wearable devices. “Wearable devices are often bulky due to large batteries needed for adequate battery life,” he says. “Perhaps such energy offload techniques can reverse this trend and enable thinner and lighter devices.”

Squid proteins help create self-healing fabrics


squid proteins

squid proteins
Imagine you just tore your favorite pair of pants. You’d have to spend some time with a needle and thread to have any hope of salvaging them, and you need to actually be adept at sewing. In the future, however, your pants might be able to heal themselves with a little splash of water. Researchers from Pennsylvania State University and the US Naval Research Laboratory have used a protein from squid tentacles to create self-healing fabric.

Different teams of researchers have recently identified interesting self-assembly proteins in the ring teeth of squid. The Pennsylvania State University researchers took samples from the ring teeth of a European Common Squid (Loligo vulgaris) in the hope of identifying the mechanism. There’s only a very small amount of protein in the ring teeth — about one gram for a 5kg squid. So, they had to cut up a lot of squid. Their sacrifice will not be forgotten. The team was able to identify LvSRT as the main component of the self-healing properties of squid ring teeth.

Underwater, this protein has flexible regions that stick together with hydrogen bonds when pressed together. There are also hard segments that reinforce the strength of the connection. Since we don’t live underwater, the protein is inert until you get it wet. The researchers devised a system for coating fabric with thin layers of protein. First, they dipped the fabric in a negatively charged polystyrene sulfonate solution. Then, the positively charged LvSRT solution was applied. The two oppositely charged materials form the base layer of the material. Additional layers can be added on top with other proteins that could be used to break down toxins or pesticides.

The result is a fabric that sticks together when you get it web. The team cut pieces of the treated fabric and applied water to repair them. The repaired textiles were just as strong and flexible as before. The squid protein treatment was tested on several different types of fabric including cotton, wool, and linen. The researchers believe this technology could have viable commercial applications if the coating process can be sped up. We would also need a source of synthetic LvSRT protein rather than sacrificing a bunch of squid.

Watch the video. URL:

Why Asia is the frontier of mobile security

Security professionals can safeguard their enterprise by studying advanced hacking techniques from China, India and Korea

Security professionals know that hackers are an invisible army with infinite patience, and a bottomless bag of tricks. Against these odds businesses are at a disadvantage, because the only surefire way to know you’re vulnerable to hackers is after an attack has occurred. By then it’s too late to plug any holes that lead to a breach.

So how can you keep your apps safe, and stay ahead of the curve? Look to Asia, particularly China and Korea.

Why Asia?

Asia is Ground Zero for mobile app hackers who target video game developers. And while Asian mobile developers seem like an isolated target, the implications are much larger than one market, or one specific form of mobile technology. Mobile hacks–often originating in China and India–quickly become a global contagion with the potential to unleash untold havoc for companies of any size.

Asia is the world’s largest Internet market, with the highest number of smartphone users. Asian consumers are avid gamers and fast adopters of mobile trends, such as mobile commerce, and in-game/in-app purchases. And as early technology adopters, Asia’s developers are the first to experience new threats to their mobile apps.

App piracy

App piracy is a costly problem for Asian app developers.

Asian consumers have a long-standing relationship with pirated content, such a movies, and premium merchandise. Culturally it is common to see knockoff designer items and pirated games/movies on the streets, and it is accepted as a part of life. The in-app sale of premium items is a business model first pioneered in Asia as a response to rampant piracy of video games.

Today app piracy serves as a way for unscrupulous developers to dramatically reduce production cycles. With access to a rival’s source code, a copycat app version is released with identical functionality, allowing the thieves to shift development funds to marketing and new user acquisition. Hard-working developers unwittingly provide a generous subsidy to their competition when they fail to lock down or obfuscate their code. In this new world, the copycat can sometimes be more popular than the original.

Advanced evasion techniques with high sophistication

The piracy problem has many faces, and aids, in advanced evasion techniques favored by hackers.

The duplication of certificates and security credentials from compromised apps often become components of new attacks against enterprise targets. With these bogus credentials hackers can deploy malicious code in an otherwise secure environment, because it appears to be coming from a trusted source.

Today’s most advanced hackers function like startups, with a chain of command and compensation structure like any legit technology firm.But the businesslike nature of their illegal enterprises does not mirror the companies they target.

Hackers are opportunists. Hackers spend weeks or months looking for one hole to exploit. Once they have breached a company’s defenses they may wait months more before selecting the right moment to launch a crippling offensive.

Transoceanic mutation

The Asian mobile security market has unique characteristics, but it is dangerous for IT professionals to treat threats as a purely local phenomenon. In a connected world, cybergangs in China, India, Pakistan and Eastern Europe are not limited by geography.

The attack patterns that originate in Asia inevitably become standard tactics used against European and American enterprise targets. Asian cybercriminals who bring battle-tested techniques to new shores, are better able to avoid detection, and more resilient to inoculation attempts, like antibiotic-resistant bacteria that cause deadly outbreaks.

Protecting your apps

The threat posed by hackers is very real; just ask Sony, Tesco, Macy’s or Nieman Marcus, retailers who suffered costly and serious brand damage after hackers gained access to millions of customer records and credit cards.

An ounce of prevention saves a pound of cure. There are no bulletproof security solutions to stop all attacks, however, there are simple and often-overlooked steps you can implement today, such as binary-level obfuscation, source code obfuscation, key encryption (private/public) and secure communications between client/server (HTTPS, not HTTP)

Think like a hacker to stop hackers

Identify weak links in your security environment by proactively educating yourself about emerging threats.

Asia is at the forefront of hacking techniques, therefore paying close attention to the latest security research will give you a leg up on hackers, before you become front page news.

The best hackers will always find a way to make mischief. Because they are opportunists first and foremost, the more difficult you make their job, the more likely they are to target someone else.