Cyber Warriors Sound Warning On Working From Home

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Cyber warriors on NATO’s eastern edge are warning that the growing number of people working from home globally due to the pandemic is increasing vulnerability to cyber attacks.

The Baltic state of Estonia hosts two cyber facilities for the Western military alliance — set up following a series of cyber attacks from neighbour Russia more than a decade ago.

“Large scale use of remote work has attracted spies, thieves and thugs,” Jaak Tarien, head of NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE), told AFP in an interview.

The increased amount of information travelling between institutional servers and home networks is creating new challenges for employers.

'Large scale use of remote work has attracted spies, thieves and thugs,' says Jaak Tarien, head of NATO's Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence ‘Large scale use of remote work has attracted spies, thieves and thugs,’ says Jaak Tarien, head of NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence Photo: AFP / Raigo Pajula

“Tackling these new challenges is complicated and requires a lot of resources as well as a different kind of approach,” Tarien said.

“We are likely only scratching the surface in assessing the magnitude of malicious activities taking place in the Covid-era busy cyberspace.”

An EU-wide survey in September found that around a third of employees were working from home.

The NATO Cyber Range CR14 centre was set up after a series of cyber attacks on Estonian websites in 2007 The NATO Cyber Range CR14 centre was set up after a series of cyber attacks on Estonian websites in 2007 Photo: AFP / Raigo Pajula

The concerns are echoed at NATO’s Cyber Range — a heavily-guarded facility protected by barbed wire in the centre of the capital Tallinn run by Estonian defence forces.

The server rooms inside serve as a platform for NATO cyber security exercises and training.

“Specialists have set up the work infrastructure, but they cannot control the way people use their home internet or how secure it is,” said Mihkel Tikk, head of the Estonian defence ministry’s cyber policy department.

Tikk said the

Scientists find upper limit for the speed of sound — ScienceDaily

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A research collaboration between Queen Mary University of London, the University of Cambridge and the Institute for High Pressure Physics in Troitsk has discovered the fastest possible speed of sound.

The result- about 36 km per second — is around twice as fast as the speed of sound in diamond, the hardest known material in the world.

Waves, such as sound or light waves, are disturbances that move energy from one place to another. Sound waves can travel through different mediums, such as air or water, and move at different speeds depending on what they’re travelling through. For example, they move through solids much faster than they would through liquids or gases, which is why you’re able to hear an approaching train much faster if you listen to the sound propagating in the rail track rather than through the air.

Einstein’s theory of special relativity sets the absolute speed limit at which a wave can travel which is the speed of light, and is equal to about 300,000 km per second. However until now it was not known whether sound waves also have an upper speed limit when travelling through solids or liquids.

The study, published in the journal Science Advances, shows that predicting the upper limit of the speed of sound is dependent on two dimensionless fundamental constants: the fine structure constant and the proton-to-electron mass ratio.

These two numbers are already known to play an important role in understanding our Universe. Their finely-tuned values govern nuclear reactions such as proton decay and nuclear synthesis in stars and the balance between the two numbers provides a narrow ‘habitable zone’ where stars and planets can form and life-supporting molecular structures can emerge. However, the new findings suggest that these two fundamental constants can also influence other scientific fields, such

Physicists Calculate Upper Limit For Speed Of Sound In The Universe

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KEY POINTS

  • Physicists tested sound as it travels through different materials
  • Sound can almost reach its upper limit when traveling in solid atomic hydrogen
  • The finding is vital in different fields of studies like materials science and condensed matter physics

Sound waves can travel to up to 36 kilometers or more than 22 miles per second when traveling through solids or liquids, a new study by a team of physicists revealed. The physicists said that their calculation could be the first known variables representing the threshold of sound waves.    

Before this new finding, the speed of sound was measured based on Albert Einstein’s theory of special relativity that identified sound waves threshold similar to that of the speed of light (300,000 kilometers or over 186,000 miles per second).

In a study, published in the journal Science Advances, the physicists said to calculate for the threshold of the speed of sound, they factored in the two dimensionless fundamental constants. These constants are the fine structure constant and the proton-to-electron mass ratio. 

The physicists explained that these two fundamental constants have already been used in calculations needed to understand the Universe. For instance, the dimensionless fundamental constants are also the basis for calculations of nuclear reactions, proton decay, and nucleosynthesis in stars. The balance between the fundamental constants could also point to the habitable zone where possible life forms could start outside Earth. 

With identifying the upper limit of sound, their finding also became significant in other fields of studies. Setting a known upper threshold of sound is particularly crucial to studies that test the limits of matter such as materials science and condensed matter physics.      

“We believe the findings of this study could have further scientific applications by helping us to find and understand limits of different properties such as viscosity

Using jargon to sound smart? Science says you’re just insecure

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I don’t know about you but I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people in the startup world string meaningless words together.

“Enable best-of-breed convergence,” and “synthesize distributed users,” are just two of my favorite jargon-fuelled phrases — even if I don’t understand what they mean.

Why, oh, why do people feel the need to spout these meaningless, empty words? Well, according to one specific study, insecurity in the workplace may play a part.

The study, titled ‘Compensatory conspicuous communication: Low status increases jargon use,’ found a correlation between aspiring business professionals, who experienced low status (aka being at the bottom of the chain at work), would use more acronyms in their written communication.

[Read: 6 work phrases you need to drop if you want your team to like you]

Interestingly, the same study also found that lower-status individuals focused more on how they were being evaluated by the audience than higher-status individuals, which led them to increase their use of jargon.

Now, jargon is used in every industry. It may not be unique to the technology sector but I often find it’s equally embraced by VCs, entrepreneurs, founders, and anyone working in tech. Everyone is guilty of using it!

Jargon is used indiscriminately in emails, press releases, and real-life conversations. It’s so common that I find myself totally desensitized to it.

I hear it, I fail to grasp the full meaning of what’s being said, I may secretly Google it on my phone, I get frustrated, and eventually, just nod and move on.

My issue with jargon is that it can act

Android’s new sound notifications can let you know when your dog is barking

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Android phones can now notify you when they detect certain sounds, which could notify people who are deaf or hard of hearing about important sounds nearby.



a close up of a light


© Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge


If you turn on the feature, called Sound Notifications, you can have your Android phone inform you about some sounds via a push notification, a flash from your camera light, or by making your phone vibrate. Other devices support Sound Notifications as well, including Wear OS devices, which can send Sound Notifications via text notifications with vibrations. And they work entirely offline, according to Google.

Google says Sound Notifications can listen for ten different noises:

  • Smoke and fire alarms
  • Sirens
  • Shouting
  • Baby sounds
  • Doorbell ringing
  • Knocking
  • Dog barking
  • Appliance beeping
  • Water running
  • Landline phone ringing

Sound Notifications are already installed on Pixel phones and “select other Android phones” and can be turned on from the accessibility menu in settings, according to Google. You can also get the feature by downloading Google’s Live Transcribe app, which can transcribe audio it “hears” in real time.

Google added an experimental feature similar to Sound Notifications to the Pixel Buds in August. The Pixel Buds’ Attention Alerts can automatically lower the volume of the headphones when they detect the sounds of a baby crying, dog barking, or the siren of an emergency vehicle.

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