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May 9, 2020

NASA, partners launch virtual hackathon to develop COVID-19 solutions

Posted by in categories: astronomy, computing, cosmology, engineering, events, hacking, health, information science, innovation, open source, satellites, science, software, space

The U.S. space agency National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA), European Space Agency (ESA), and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are inviting coders, entrepreneurs, scientists, designers, storytellers, makers, builders, artists, and technologists to participate in a virtual hackathon May 30–31 dedicated to putting open data to work in developing solutions to issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the global Space Apps COVID-19 Challenge, participants from around the world will create virtual teams that – during a 48-hour period – will use Earth observation data to propose solutions to COVID-19-related challenges ranging from studying the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and its spread to the impact the disease is having on the Earth system. Registration for this challenge opens in mid-May.

“There’s a tremendous need for our collective ingenuity right now,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “I can’t imagine a more worthy focus than COVID-19 on which to direct the energy and enthusiasm from around the world with the Space Apps Challenge that always generates such amazing solutions.”

The unique capabilities of NASA and its partner space agencies in the areas of science and technology enable them to lend a hand during this global crisis. Since the start of the global outbreak, Earth science specialists from each agency have been exploring ways to use unique Earth observation data to aid understanding of the interplay of the Earth system – on global to local scales – with aspects of the COVID-19 outbreak, including, potentially, our ability to combat it. The hackathon will also examine the human and economic response to the virus.

Continue reading “NASA, partners launch virtual hackathon to develop COVID-19 solutions” »

Apr 22, 2020

Dengue case predictor mapping system wins the 2019 NASA global hackathon

Posted by in categories: astronomy, big data, computing, disruptive technology, environmental, events, hacking, information science, innovation, machine learning, mapping, open source, satellites, science, software, space
Upper row Associate American Corner librarian Donna Lyn G. Labangon, Space Apps global leader Dr. Paula S. Bontempi, former DICT Usec. Monchito B. Ibrahim, Animo Labs executive director Mr. Federico C. Gonzalez, DOST-PCIEERD deputy executive director Engr. Raul C. Sabularse, PLDT Enterprise Core Business Solutions vice president and head Joseph Ian G. Gendrano, lead organizer Michael Lance M. Domagas, and Animo Labs program manager Junnell E. Guia. Lower row Dominic Vincent D. Ligot, Frances Claire Tayco, Mark Toledo, and Jansen Dumaliang Lopez of Aedes project.

MANILA, Philippines — A dengue case forecasting system using space data made by Philippine developers won the 2019 National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s International Space Apps Challenge. Over 29,000 participating globally in 71 countries, this solution made it as one of the six winners in the best use of data, the solution that best makes space data accessible, or leverages it to a unique application.

Dengue fever is a viral, infectious tropical disease spread primarily by Aedes aegypti female mosquitoes. With 271,480 cases resulting in 1,107 deaths reported from January 1 to August 31, 2019 by the World Health Organization, Dominic Vincent D. Ligot, Mark Toledo, Frances Claire Tayco, and Jansen Dumaliang Lopez from CirroLytix developed a forecasting model of dengue cases using climate and digital data, and pinpointing possible hotspots from satellite data.

Sentinel-2 Copernicus and Landsat 8 satellite data used to reveal potential dengue hotspots.

Correlating information from Sentinel-2 Copernicus and Landsat 8 satellites, climate data from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PAGASA) and trends from Google search engines, potential dengue hotspots will be shown in a web interface.

Using satellite spectral bands like green, red, and near-infrared (NIR), indices like Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation (FAPAR) and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) are calculated in identifying areas with green vegetation while Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) identifies areas with water. Combining these indices reveal potential areas of stagnant water capable of being breeding grounds for mosquitoes, extracted as coordinates through a free and open-source cross-platform desktop geographic information system QGIS.

Continue reading “Dengue case predictor mapping system wins the 2019 NASA global hackathon” »

Oct 25, 2019

Future Consequences of Cryptocurrency Use: Systemic Investigation of Two Scenarios

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, business, complex systems, counterterrorism, cryptocurrencies, cybercrime/malcode, disruptive technology, economics, education, employment, encryption, finance, futurism, governance, government, hacking, innovation, law enforcement, open access, policy, privacy, security, strategy, terrorism

We face complexity, ambiguity, and uncertainty about the future consequences of cryptocurrency use. There are doubts about the positive and negative impacts of the use of cryptocurrencies in the financial systems. In order to address better and deeper the contradictions and the consequences of the use of cryptocurrencies and also informing the key stakeholders about known and unknown emerging issues in new payment systems, we apply two helpful futures studies tools known as the “Future Wheel”, to identify the key factors, and “System Dynamics Conceptual Mapping”, to understand the relationships among such factors. Two key scenarios will be addressed. In on them, systemic feedback loops might be identified such as a) terrorism, the Achilles’ heel of the cryptocurrencies, b) hackers, the barrier against development, and c) information technology security professionals, a gap in the future job market. Also, in the other scenario, systemic feedback loops might be identified such as a) acceleration of technological entrepreneurship enabled by new payment systems, b) decentralization of financial ecosystem with some friction against it, c) blockchain and shift of banking business model, d) easy international payments triggering structural reforms, and e) the decline of the US and the end of dollar dominance in the global economy. In addition to the feedback loops, we can also identify chained links of consequences that impact productivity and economic growth on the one hand, and shift of energy sources and consumption on the other hand.

Watch the full length presentation at Victor V. Motti YouTube Channel

Sep 16, 2019

Was SHA-256 cracked? Don’t buy into retraction!

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, encryption, government, hacking, internet, mathematics, military, privacy, security, software

SHA-256 is a one way hashing algorithm. Cracking it would have tectonic implications for consumers, business and all aspects of government including the military.

It’s not the purpose of this post to explain encryption, AES or SHA-256, but here is a brief description of SHA-256. Normally, I place reference links in-line or at the end of a post. But let’s get this out of the way up front:

One day after Treadwell Stanton DuPont claimed that a secret project cracked SHA-256 more than one year ago, they back-tracked. Rescinding the original claim, they announced that an equipment flaw caused them to incorrectly conclude that they had algorithmically cracked SHA-256.

All sectors can still sleep quietly tonight,” said CEO Mike Wallace. “Preliminary results in this cryptanalytic research led us to believe we were successful, but this flaw finally proved otherwise.

Continue reading “Was SHA-256 cracked? Don’t buy into retraction!” »

Feb 6, 2019

Ira Pastor — Dr. Michael Lustgarten — IdeaXMe

Posted by in categories: aging, bioengineering, biotech/medical, DNA, futurism, genetics, hacking, health, life extension, transhumanism

Very excited to have interviewed Dr. Michael Lustgarten in my role as longevity / aging ambassador for the ideaXme Show — Mike has been at the forefront of studying the 100 trillion organisms present in the human microbiome, their effect on human health and wellness, as well as a major proponent of metabolomics and biologic age tracking — A true future thinker in the area of extending human lifespan and healthspan

Jan 18, 2019

Blockchain: 6 Key Ethical Considerations

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, computing, cryptocurrencies, cybercrime/malcode, disruptive technology, employment, ethics, hacking, information science

Blockchain shows major potential to drive positive change across a wide range of industries. Like any disruptive technology, there are ethical considerations that must be identified, discussed, and mitigated as we adopt and apply this technology, so that we can maximize the positive benefits, and minimize the negative side effects.

Own Your Data

For decades we have sought the ability for data subjects to own and control their data. Sadly, with massive proliferation of centralized database silos and the sensitive personal information they contain, we have fallen far short of data subjects having access to, let alone owning or controlling their data. Blockchain has the potential to enable data subjects to access their data, review and amend it, see reports of who else has accessed it, give consent or opt-in / opt-out of data sharing, and even request they be forgotten and their information be deleted.

Monetize Your Data

Continue reading “Blockchain: 6 Key Ethical Considerations” »

Feb 3, 2018

We are already Artificial Intelligence

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, computing, cyborgs, DNA, evolution, existential risks, futurism, hacking, robotics/AI, theory, transhumanism

By Eliott Edge

“It is possible for a computer to become conscious. Basically, we are that. We are data, computation, memory. So we are conscious computers in a sense.”

—Tom Campbell, NASA

If the universe is a computer simulation, virtual reality, or video game, then a few unusual conditions seem to necessarily fall out from that reading. One is what we call consciousness, the mind, is actually something like an artificial intelligence. If the universe is a computer simulation, we are all likely one form of AI or another. In fact, we might come from the same computer that is creating this simulated universe to begin with. If so then it stands to reason that we are virtual characters and virtual minds in a virtual universe.

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Jun 2, 2017

Wallet Security: Cloud/Exchange Services

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, finance, hacking

3½ years ago, I wrote a Bitcoin wallet safety primer for Naked Security, a newsletter by Sophos, the European antivirus lab. Articles are limited to just 500 hundred words, and so my primer barely conveyed a mindset—It outlined broad steps for protecting a Bitcoin wallet.

In retrospect, that article may have been a disservice to digital currency novices. For example, did you know that a mobile text message is not a good form of two-factor authentication? Relying on SMS can get your life savings wiped out. Who knew?!

With a tip of the hat to Cody Brown, here is an online wallet security narrative that beats my article by a mile. Actually, it is more of a warning than a tutorial. But, read it closely. Learn from Cody’s misfortune. Practice safe storage. If you glean anything from the article, at least do this:

  • Install Google Authenticator. Require it for any online account with stored value. If someone hijacks your phone account, they cannot authenticate an exchange or wallet transaction—even with Authenticator.
  • Many exchanges (like Coinbase) offer a “vault”. Sweep most of your savings into the vault instead of the daily-use wallet. This gives you time to detect a scam or intrusion and to halt withdrawals. What is a vault? In my opinion, it is better than a paper wallet! Like a bank account, it is a wallet administered by a trusted vendor, but with no internet connection and forced access delay.

Exchange and cloud users want instant response. They want to purchase things without delay and they want quick settlement of currency exchange. But online wallets come with great risk. They can be emptied in an instant. It is not as difficult to spoof your identity as you may think (Again: Read Cody’s article below!)

Continue reading “Wallet Security: Cloud/Exchange Services” »

Sep 10, 2016

The Familiarity of the Future: A Look Back from 1999

Posted by in categories: counterterrorism, disruptive technology, futurism, governance, hacking, innovation, internet, law, policy

In preparation for writing a review of the Unabomber’s new book, I have gone through my files to find all the things I and others had said about this iconic figure when he struck terror in the hearts of technophiles in the 1990s. Along the way, I found this letter written to a UK Channel 4 producer on 26 November 1999 by way of providing material for a television show in which I participated called ‘The Trial of the 21st Century’, which aired on 2 January 2000. I was part of the team which said things were going to get worse in the 21st century.

What is interesting about this letter is just how similar ‘The Future’ still looks, even though the examples and perhaps some of the wording are now dated. It suggests that there is a way of living in the present that is indeed ‘future-forward’ in the sense of amplifying certain aspects of today’s world beyond the significance normally given to them. In this respect, the science fiction writer William Gibson quipped that the future is already here, only unevenly distributed. Indeed, it seems to have been here for quite a while.

Dear Matt,

Here are the sum of my ideas for the Trial of the 21st Century programme, stressing the downbeat:

Continue reading “The Familiarity of the Future: A Look Back from 1999” »

Sep 9, 2016

Three Ways To Unlearn Old Habits Faster — By Liz Alexander | Fast Company

Posted by in category: hacking

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“There’s something missing from the conversation about lifelong learning.”

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