• Seismograph – Part 5

    No more tweaks to the vault, so this is about how things are just working really well.

    Sadly, due to a software bug, I lost the actual page of the big quake off the coast of Mexico, so here is the photo I happen to take of the screen that morning.

    Just a massive quake that ran for many minutes and then picked up a bit half hour or so latter.

    Now, as for all these, I truly am sorry to say that I have been super distracted (massive (or not) blog post coming – relax, it’s really geeky techo stuff) and so I just have not been keeping up on exactly which quakes all these traces are from.
    I guess my point in showing them all is that the system is working really well.
    The last point I want to make is that RaspberryShake guys are working on a system that sends an email as soon as a big quake is detected on each of our seismographs, so I will be able to keep track of them much better.

    You can click on each image, then your browser should let you click again and you can pan around, so you can see the dates and could go back through the USGS website and link all these up.
    Impressive that 2 of the pages have 2 quakes on them.
    The new vault seems to be working well?

    Till then, here are some amazing traces from my station in Temecula.



  • Genetically engineered salmon

    Yeah, I could blog about my thoughts on genetically modified salmon… But,the thing is, I don’t have thoughts on that….(Hard to believe I know).
    No, what caught my eye in this article is that they came up with this TWENTY FIVE YEARS AGO!!!

    https://www.nature.com/news/first-genetically-engineered-salmon-sold-in-canada-1.22116

    Genetically engineered salmon has reached the dinner table. AquaBounty Technologies, the company in Maynard, Massachusetts, that developed the fish, announced on 4 August that it has sold some 4.5 tonnes of its hotly debated product to customers in Canada.

    The sale marks the first time that a genetically engineered animal has been sold for food on the open market. It took AquaBounty more than 25 years to get to this point.

    Twenty five years ago they were splicing this fish together.
    Twenty five years ago, they had it all sorted and working well enough to go to the government and ask to sell it.
    Wow, that really blows my mind. For some reason I thought all this stuff had only really become possible in the past 10 years or so, that before that it was all talk and theory.
    This fish proves otherwise.



  • Interesting price structure

    Well, I will give it some credit at face value… This is could really shake things up in a good way.
    Well done Aussies, well done.

    http://reneweconomy.com.au/why-solar-towers-and-storage-plants-will-reshape-energy-markets-73278/#undefined.uxfs

    The 150MW solar tower and molten salt storage plant to be built in Port Augusta has been made possible by a ground-breaking pricing and contract structure that could help completely reshape Australian power markets, including the end of “baseload” power as we know it.

    The South Australian government announced last week that it had signed a deal with US company SolarReserve to build the 150MW solar tower with molten salt storage project – to be known as Aurora – just a few kilometres from the now closed Northern coal-fired power station.

    The output of Aurora will be around 500GWh – roughly the same as the annual consumption of the state government and the various assets it owns.

    But it is the unique nature of the contract that explains the difference between what the government will pay SolarReserve ($75-$78/MWh), and what SolarReserve will receive, and will likely serve as a template for more “dispatchable” renewable energy projects in the future.

    Essentially, Solar Reserve will provide the S.A. government with some of its needs from other sources in the market when demand and the price is low. Aurora will cover the government for energy and prices when the government’s demand is at its highest, around the middle of the day.

    But because the government can and will get some cheap power elsewhere, Aurora will be able store its solar power in its molten salt storage tanks so it can sell into the market at the system peaks, in late afternoon and early evening, when the market prices are highest, boosting its revenue.

    In English. They have made a really sweet win win deal.
    Aurora will sell their electric at the price set by the government at the times the government needs it, at all other times, they can do what they want.
    The government wins because they get renewable energy at a price they can afford, Aurora win because while they cant make money at the government price, they can sell it latter (or any other time) at a price that will make them money. Thus the project gets funded because the base-load price is ‘guaranteed’.

    Nice work guys. Love it. Hope it works out in practice as well as it sounds.



  • GPS spoofing

    I have been sort of keeping my eye on this topic over the years, for no real reason other than its pretty interesting how the whole GPS system works.
    (Very VERY accurate clocks for a start).

    I blogged a few days back about a software hack on a drone to make it think it was somewhere else according to its GPS.
    This is pretty straight forward. You need to download the hacked firmware into your drone, a third party can not do it while its flying for example, and its simply an offset from the GPS on the drone. The drone still flys where it is flying, it just reports to the software that it is somewhere else.

    This – this is something else entirely. This is super scary.

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/2143499-ships-fooled-in-gps-spoofing-attack-suggest-russian-cyberweapon/

    Reports of satellite navigation problems in the Black Sea suggest that Russia may be testing a new system for spoofing GPS, New Scientist has learned. This could be the first hint of a new form of electronic warfare available to everyone from rogue nation states to petty criminals.

    On 22 June, the US Maritime Administration filed a seemingly bland incident report. The master of a ship off the Russian port of Novorossiysk had discovered his GPS put him in the wrong spot – more than 32 kilometres inland, at Gelendzhik Airport.

    After checking the navigation equipment was working properly, the captain contacted other nearby ships. Their AIS traces – signals from the automatic identification system used to track vessels – placed them all at the same airport. At least 20 ships were affected.

    While the incident is not yet confirmed, experts think this is the first documented use of GPS misdirection – a spoofing attack that has long been warned of but never been seen in the wild.

    We have read about this a bit. A Raspberry Pi and two USB dongles is enough to do this.
    Where I first picked it up was with the ADSB aircraft tracking beacon spoofing. A proof of concept was done where a small aircraft was spoofed in front of a large jet liner and the aircraft was diverted around what it thought was a real plane.
    Similar deal here I guess, they could have changed the course of one or more ships.
    Its hard to imagine just how much we all use GPS. Even if you don’t think you do, or if you dont own a GPS mapping unit – your life is still dependent on GPS working cleanly.

    If what they are saying happen really did happen…. this is super scary.



  • AI writing product / place reviews

    My Dad and I had a bit of a back and forth email exchange about AI and Google filtering search results a week or so ago.
    For me, the end result was that it seemed like we both had valid points, but a lack of solid information about what really was going on made it hard for either of us to drive our respective points home.

    This article wont help.

    https://www.businessinsider.com.au/researchers-teach-ai-neural-network-write-fake-reviews-fake-news-2017-8

    For many people, online reviews are the first port of call when looking for a restaurant and hotel.

    As such, they have become the lifeblood for many businesses — a permanent record of the quality of their services and products. And these businesses are constantly on the watch for unfair or fake reviews, planted by disgruntled rivals or angry customers.

    But there will soon be a major new threat to the world of online reviews: Fake reviews written automatically by artificial intelligence (AI).

    Allowed to rise unchecked, they could irreparably tarnish the credibility of review sites — and the tech could have far broader (and more worrying) implications for society, trust, and fake news.

    Its a bit of a read, but the bottom line is that they have taught an AI how to write reviews that read like a human wrote them. Indeed, I failed the little ‘test’ at the bottom of the article.
    The point they make is scary. Reviews are one thing, but there is nothing stopping the AI from writing news. Or blogs. Or… yeah, you get the idea.

    One of the points I was making with my Dad is that while software engineers have written the AI, I am not so sure they are still in control of it.
    In this case, the AI reads reviews to learn how to write reviews. What happens when there are more AI reviews than real human reviews and so the AI is reading its own reviews? Who wrote the code for that? (And are they even still working for the company?).

    Don’t get me wrong, I am all for AI and ML, and while I rely (perhaps a little too much) on real people reviews of the products I buy, the idea of a computer writing a review on a product so it will rank higher in my search results leaves me a little cold.