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Australian Institute of Marine Science trials IoT drifters to monitor oceans



The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) has teamed up with Internet of Things (IoT) satellite technology company Myriota to trial ocean drifters that report back to base using satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO).

The low-cost drifters allow AIMS to receive data in “near-real time”, the agency said in a statement.

“Because they connect to LEO satellites, they avoid issues like coverage dropouts and connectivity issues that come from using traditional mobile phone networks,” AIMS technology development team leader Melanie Olsen said.

According to Myriota, the drifters monitor location, currents, sea surface water temperatures, and barometric pressure, and, in future, AIMS could get oceanographic data every hour.

“Data is an essential tool if we are to understand how our oceans behave,” Olsen added. “We need to bring every tool to bear if we are to protect one of our nation’s most precious natural assets, our marine environment.”

In November last year, Myriota CEO Alex Grant detailed the transmitter that was a result of seven years of research and development.

Myriota’s current-generation technology allows for a four-year battery life of IoT devices using two AA batteries; scales to hundreds of millions of connections; and offers a tenfold cost reduction from traditional satellite offerings to “reduce the bar for getting into space”, the chief executive said.

Grant also explained how Myriota has worked to ensure the security of its system.

“We had to really work very hard to solve a problem not just of data payload encryption — that’s fairly straightforward — the real challenge is the authentication and privacy aspects of the link so that you can’t, for example, have an attacker getting home metadata attacks on your IoT system,” Grant said.

“For example, counting how many things you have or being able to tell where all your things are. Even if they don’t know what the actual sensory [data is], there’s a lot of commercial information in perhaps the population of your deployment.”

At the start of the year, Myriota raised $15 million through a Series A funding round, with Boeing HorizonX Ventures, Singtel Innov8, and Right Click Capital.

Myriota said the cash injection would allow to launch more satellites; opening offices in North America and Asia; adding 50 additional staff members to its South Australian headquarters; and launching a $2.7 million IoT innovation lab in Adelaide.

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The Science Behind The Deadly Lake



A buildup of carbon dioxide gas is not uncommon for crater lakes, with many of them occasionally releasing bubbles of it over time. Volcanic activity taking place below the Earth’s surface (and below the lake itself) will cause gasses to seep up through the lakebed and into the water. Something that generally isn’t a concern as deeper, colder water is able to absorb substantial amounts of carbon dioxide, but if the concentration gets too dense it can create bubbles that float up to and burst on the surface of the water.

This in itself is common, and the volume of carbon dioxide usually released in this manner will dissipate into the air quickly. However, it’s theorized that Lake Nyos had been amassing an uncharacteristically large amount of gas due to a combination of factors like location, local climate, overall depth, and water pressure. Once that buildup had been disturbed, it all came rocketing out.

Whether it was due to a rock slide, strong winds, or an unexpected temperature change throwing off the delicate balance is still unknown. But whatever the catalyst was, it caused the lower layer of deep, carbon-infused water to start to rise. Which then began to warm up, reducing its ability to contain the gas. The resulting perpetual cycle of rising waters and gasses creates the type of explosion you might see after opening a carbonated beverage after it’s been shaken vigorously.

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The Super Nintendo’s Secret Weapon



The Super Nintendo featured seven different video rendering modes, each offering a different level of display detail, shown in one to four background layers. Most of the Super Nintendo’s games utilized Mode 1, which could display 16-color sprites and backgrounds on two layers plus a 4-color sprite on a third layer. This little trick was the key to the parallax scrolling effect you’d see in games like “Super Mario World,” where background elements would scroll at different rates from foreground elements.

Mode 7, however, was the only one of these display modes that permitted advanced visual effects. In a nutshell, Mode 7 allows the Super Nintendo to take a 2D image and apply 3D rendering effects to it, such as scrolling, curving, stretching, and more. By switching to Mode 7, games could transform one of their background layers into an independently moving image, which could be used for gameplay modifications and simple spectacle. Plus, with a bit of creative warping, a 2D image could be changed into a pseudo-3D view, having 2D sprites move around in a flat 3D space. It’s kind of like rolling a ball on a treadmill.

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Does Wrapping Your Key Fob In Foil Actually Make It Harder To Steal Your Car?



Car key fobs operate using two pieces of radio-based technology: radio waves and a radio frequency identification system, or RFID. A wireless key fob has its own unique RFID signal paired to your car. This is how your fob is able to send remote commands with button presses, like locking doors and sounding the alarm. However, with the right kind of technology (or, rather, the wrong kind of technology), a bad actor could co-opt your fob’s RFID signal and send an unlock command to your car. Afterward, they can waltz right over, pop the doors open, and go on their merry way.

The tin foil theory banks on a metallic material’s natural ability to block and redirect electromagnetic waves, including radio waves. If you were to wrap your key fob in a few sheets of foil, especially very thick foil, then its RFID signal wouldn’t be able to get out. While that does mean you’d need to take the fob out of the foil every time you want to use it, it also means that a bad actor wouldn’t be able to intercept and co-opt its signal.

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