Tag Archives: Skills

Updates from Georgia Tech

Signals from Distant Lightning Could Help Secure Electric Substations
By John Toon – Side channel signals and bolts of lightning from distant storms could one day help prevent hackers from sabotaging electric power substations and other critical infrastructure, a new study suggests.

By analyzing electromagnetic signals emitted by substation components using an independent monitoring system, security personnel could tell if switches and transformers were being tampered with in remote equipment. Background lightning signals from thousands of miles away would authenticate those signals, preventing malicious actors from injecting fake monitoring information into the system.

The research, done by engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has been tested at substations with two different electric utilities, and by extensive modeling and simulation. Known as radio frequency-based distributed intrusion detection system (RFDIDS), the technique was described February 26 at the 2019 Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS) in San Diego.

“We should be able to remotely detect any attack that is modifying the magnetic field around substation components,” said Raheem Beyah, Motorola Foundation Professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and co-founder of Fortiphyd Logic, Inc. “We are using a physical phenomenon to determine whether a certain action at a substation has occurred or not.”

Opening substation breakers to cause a blackout is one potential power grid attack, and in December 2015, that technique was used to shut off power to 230,000 persons in the Ukraine. Attackers opened breakers in 30 substations and hacked into monitoring systems to convince power grid operators that the grid was operating normally. Topping that off, they also attacked call centers to prevent customers from telling operators what was happening. more>

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Updates from Adobe

The Joy of Making Things
By Jessie Young – Jenny Yu’s masterfully crafted illustrations feature solitary figures wrapped in blankets of light and color.

Yu gravitated toward art at a young age.

She earned a BFA in Illustration at California State University, Long Beach and was initially focused on traditional materials. She only started using digital tools during her junior year. “My friend gave me her old Bamboo tablet for free,” she says, “and that’s how it all started. I was really bad at it!”

References are important to Yu’s process. To imagine the essence of a scene, she must first understand its structure in the real world.  She’s inspired by the light and color she sees on walks around the city; her favorite photographers; and the work of Hayao Miyazaki.

She chooses her subject matter according to her mood, in “slice of life-y contexts.” She’s drawn to quiet contemplation: sitting and having coffee, walking alone down the street, looking out the window. Her work often captures moments when the subject is lost in thought, unaware that anyone is paying attention. Instead of populating these spaces with crowds of bystanders, she fills the page with architectural details, angled lines of falling rain, and layered shapes created by late afternoon or early morning light.

Her favorite parts of the illustration process are to lock down the basic composition and structure and then experiment with value and color. more>

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Updates from ITU

25 ways to be a more inclusive engineer

This list, created in support of EQUALS by members of its Leadership Coalition, highlights 25 actions that individual engineers can take to be more inclusive, as a complement to steps taken by employers.

Business Leadership

  1. Be sensitive to the impact of micro-inequities. Pay attention to language and assumptions in daily conversations that may inadvertently reinforce stereotypes.
    Listen for and correct personality penalties in casual conversation.
    Interrupt “fixed mindsets” talk by questioning language such as “natural talent,” “born leaders,” “not leadership material,” “a leopard doesn’t change its spots,” or “either you’ve got that special something or you don’t.”
  2. Encourage others to apply or ask for a certain position, award or role.
    Never underestimate the power of simply encouraging others to take on a project or apply for a position you think they are qualified to do,[iv] but do so in ways that do not set people up to fail.

  3. Ensure that the ideas, solutions and approaches of women and men team members are given equal consideration and are not discounted because of gender.
    Ensure that credit goes to the originator of a good point and not just to whoever talked the longest or the loudest, or to the person who repeated someone else’s idea.

more>

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Updates from Chicago Booth

The tax that could save the world
By Michael Maiello & Natasha Gural – It was, perhaps, the closest that the economics profession has ever come to a consensus. In January, 43 of the world’s most eminent economists signed a statement published in the Wall Street Journal calling for a US carbon tax. The list included 27 Nobel laureates, four former chairs of the Federal Reserve, and nearly every former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers since the 1970s, both Republican and Democratic.

“By correcting a well-known market failure, a carbon tax will send a powerful price signal that harnesses the invisible hand of the marketplace to steer economic actors towards a low-carbon future,” the economists noted. All revenue from the tax should be paid in equal lump-sum rebates directly to US citizens, they added.

Not all economists agree that the tax should be revenue neutral in this way, but the profession has been coalescing in recent years around the idea of a carbon tax. Most prefer such a tax to the most prominent alternative policy for tackling carbon emissions, cap and trade, according to a recent poll of expert economists.

But a carbon tax seems to be a political nonstarter in the United States. The bipartisan call for action from economists over the years has been echoed by a failure to act by presidents from both parties. President Donald Trump denies the need to confront man-made climate change.

But although Barack Obama, his predecessor, in 2015 called a carbon tax “the most elegant way” to fight global warming, he didn’t push strongly for one to be introduced.

“One of my very, very few disappointments in Obama when he was president is that he did not come out in favor of carbon tax,” Yale’s William D. Nordhaus told the New York Times last October, days after winning the 2018 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on economic modeling and climate change. more>

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Updates from Siemens

High-tech sports equipment: what do consumers want?
By Suzanne Kopcha – The sporting goods market is undergoing a major technological disruption: smart products are changing the way consumers and elite athletes interact with once seemingly simple products.

Technology is ubiquitous and has dramatically changed consumer expectations for connected, or “smart,” sporting goods – so much so that this new high-tech sports equipment market is expected to reach $1.2 billion in sales by 2022.

Consumers and elite athletes are obsessed with data and how it can help them achieve better health and personal performance, whether it’s a young professional looking to get into shape, or an elite, high-paid athlete aiming for peak performance. Different consumers want different things from the industry.

Let’s explore some of the most important consumer expectations. more>

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Updates from Adobe

Connecting with the Extreme
By Serena Fox – Renan Ozturk captures stories at the edge of the human condition. “I want to show humanity on the fringes,” says the photographer and documentary filmmaker. “Whether that’s high in the mountains or isolated on the edge of the earth, these cultures need their voices amplified in some way.”

A world-class climber, Ozturk is best known for his work as the director of photography and high-altitude director on the award-winning documentary Sherpa—which explores the Sherpa people’s cultural connection to Mount Everest—and for the Sundance Audience Award–winning Meru, which recounts the near-death accidents and transcendent beauty of Ozturk’s attempts, with climbers Conrad Anker and Jimmy Chin, to climb the most-tried-and-failed peak in the Himalaya range.

In addition to being a prolific documentary filmmaker, Ozturk is a photojournalist for National Geographic and Sony, an expedition climber for The North Face, a co-owner of the production company Camp4 Collective, and a commercial director for clients including Apple, Nike, Yeti, ESPN, and NBC. On top of all that, he’s also a talented landscape painter.

Driven to show our connection to the natural world, the soft-spoken Ozturk faces extreme challenges: physical, cultural, and technological. He dangles thousands of feet in the air while shooting, hauls gear through the planet’s most extreme environments, flies ultra-light experimental aircraft to capture aerial shots, pilots drones during technical ascents of the earth’s most challenging peaks, and spends months slowly getting to know the people who live in the world’s most remote locations. more>

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Updates from Ciena

Pluggables: Their role in coherent technology evolution

By Patricia Bower – In the optical networking industry, pluggable client optical modules are a dominant trend for very short links within buildings and campus networks. Market economics that have driven the proliferation of these pluggables include factors such as simplicity, interoperability and volume-driven cost. And in the domain of short-reach (sub-10km), point-to-point fiber optic connections, the advantages listed above for using small form-factor, pluggable modules shine through.

This is particularly so in the case where transport of high-speed Ethernet client signals is the primary requirement. Connectivity within and between data centers has grown at a very rapid rate over the last few years, both from the perspective of transmission speed and number of connections. The use of optical signaling to transport these high-speed Ethernet signals has proven to be very efficient.

The optical networking industry has a well-established and large ecosystem of vendors bringing small form-factor client modules to market. Many of these are supported by MSAs (Multi-Source Agreements) which can be one of two types; those that define optical transmission specifications and those that define mechanical forms.

More recently, the data rates supported by pluggable form factors have increased.  The 100G Lambda MSA group, of which Ciena is a member, has exhibited live demonstrations of interoperable Ethernet modules from member companies.  The 100G Lambda MSA specifies 100Gb/s over 2km and 10km of single-mode fiber (SMF), and 400 Gb/s links over 2km of SMF.  These modules will be based on the use of PAM-4 coding to get to a data rate of 100Gbps per wavelength. more>

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Updates from Adobe

The Art of the Unnatural
By Brendan Seibel – When he was a kid, Jason DeMarte enjoyed visiting natural history museums to see the dioramas filled with taxidermy wildlife and carefully positioned plants.

As an adult, he determined that those scenes are intended more to capture the imagination than to document reality. And while the diorama designers’ motives may be pure, there is a darker side.

DeMarte saw a correlation between the museums’ “perfect, pristine snippets of nature” and product photography of the sort he’d done for Toys ’R’ Us to pay the bills while earning an MFA in photography. That experience of creating flawless images of merchandise exemplified photography’s role in cultivating consumer desire for false perfection through manipulation and good lighting.

“I started thinking about nature in a different way, as a commodity, as a way of packaging, promoting, and selling a commodifiable object,” DeMarte says.

The disconnect between manufactured perceptions of nature and the imperfect reality has been DeMarte’s artistic focus ever since. His work is a commentary on the artifice underpinning our concept of the world, as well as our constant desire for something “better.” more>

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Updates from Chicago Booth

Why artificial intelligence isn’t boosting the economy—yet
By Alex Verkhivker – Measured productivity has been declining for more than a decade in the United States and abroad. It calls to mind Solow’s paradox, a 1987 observation by the Nobel laureate economist Robert Solow, who noted that one “can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the same thing is happening with artificial intelligence, or AI, according to MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, MIT PhD candidate Daniel Rock, and Chicago Booth’s Chad Syverson.

AI is a once-in-a-lifetime, general-purpose technology that promises to provide an “engine of growth,” they write. This was also true of the steam engine, electricity, and the internal combustion engine.

And yet, the researchers point out, the steam technologies that drove the US industrial revolution took nearly 50 years to show up in rising productivity statistics. And the first 25 years after the development of the electric motor and internal combustion engine were associated with a productivity slump, with growth of less than 1.5 percent a year. Then in 1915, the pace of economic expansion doubled for 10 years.

In these cases, the researchers find signs of what they call “the productivity J-curve,” a period in economic data when productivity growth is underestimated, followed by a period when it’s overestimated. This dynamic may have also applied to the computer-powered information-technology era, with 25 years of slow productivity growth followed by a decadelong acceleration, from 1995 through 2005.

Why does this happen? more>

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Updates from Adobe

Kiwie Bubble Gum Collection
By Charles Purdy – In a recent post on Behance, Kiwie, whose graffiti artwork is well known on the streets of Riga, Latvia, where he makes his home, explained why and how he created the Kiwie Bubble Gum collection—a project that involved Adobe After Effects CC, Illustrator CC, and a fair bit of spray paint

The idea for the Kiwie Bubble Gum collection arose from Kiwie’s need to create new stickers. Wanting a fresh concept for the stickers, he remembered that the bubblegum brands of his youth used to come with collectible pictures folded inside the packaging—so what if he used that gum packaging shape as a way to deliver his stickers?

Then he realized that “Kiwie” and “Turbo” have the same number of letters. He says, “That was the point when the chain reaction started, where the first concept seed was created by simply connecting two dots: new Kiwie stickers and Turbo Bubble Gum. The same day I found on eBay, and ordered, five original Turbo Bubble Gums. I had to see them in my hands.” more>

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