Scientists Claim New Data Storage Can Last 13.8 Billion Years

A few years ago, scientists at the University of Southampton announced the development of so-called 5D "Superman memory" crystals: small nanostructured glass discs that, through laser-writing, could hold a lot more data for a lot longer than other storage media. The team has continued to improve on that technology, and now report that they can record a whopping 360 terabytes of data on the discs—all of which will basically be immortal.

More precisely, if kept at room temperature, the discs will reportedly last for 13.8 billion years. (As a reminder, the universe is about 13.8 billion years old.) The team is presenting the technology at the International Society for Optical Engineering Conference in San Francisco this week. According to the abstract on the conference website, the data written on the discs can remain stable up to 1000°C (1832°F), and so far, a copy of the King James Bible and the Magna Carta have been successfully stored. The authors write: "Even at elevated temperatures of 160°C, the extrapolated decay time of nanogratings is comparable with the age of the Universe—13.8 billion years."

The full study has not yet been published, so there is currently no explanation regarding that incredibly long timetable, but the development is notable news in a world that's increasingly reliant on digital data storage.

In a press release, Professor Peter Kazansky from the University of Southampton's Optoelectronics Research Centre said: "It is thrilling to think that we have created the technology to preserve documents and information and store it in space for future generations.This technology can secure the last evidence of our civilization: all we’ve learnt will not be forgotten."

Check out the fabrication process for these teeny tiny data powerhouses below.

[h/t Hypebeast]

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Use Wi-Fi? Your Device Is at Risk in the Latest Security Breach
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Another day, another way our personal data is being compromised. This time, the latest threat to your credit card numbers, social security information, and other personal data comes from a more-than-ubiquitous source: your Wi-Fi.

As Ars Technica and The Independent report, a computer security researcher has discovered a major issue with Wi-Fi that can be used to decrypt your data. The vulnerability is the result of weakness in the WPA2 protocol that secures modern Wi-Fi networks. Hackers can steal sensitive data that has been decrypted a method called KRACK, or Key Reinstallation Attacks. While we can't know yet if hackers have actually taken advantage of the vulnerability, its existence puts every Wi-Fi-enabled device at risk.

“If your device supports Wi-Fi, it is most likely affected,” Mathy Vanhoef, the Belgium-based researcher who discovered the exploit, said. That means your phone, your computer, and even your Wi-Fi light bulbs. The hacker only needs to be within range of your Wi-Fi—not logged into your network—to take advantage of it and steal your data. However, Ars Technica reports that Android and Linux users are more vulnerable to severe attacks than Windows or iOS users.

What should I do to protect myself?

Unfortunately, changing your passwords won’t help this time around. All you can do is wait for security updates for your devices. In the meantime, treat every Wi-Fi connection like it’s the public network at Starbucks. As in, don’t go sharing all your personal data. You can make yourself safer by using a VPN. According to cybersecurity expert Robert Graham, these kind of attacks can’t defeat VPNs.

Most companies will no doubt be releasing security patches to fix this issue ASAP, so keep a look out for any available updates.

[h/t The Independent]

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Dubai Plans to Outfit Police Force With Hoverbikes
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Dubai is home to plenty of flashy fashion and architecture, and it has over-the-top police gear to match. The department already is outfitted with some of the fastest cars on the streets, including a Ferrari and a Lamborghini. Now, Autoblog reports that police officers in the United Arab Emirates city are getting hoverbikes to access hard-to-reach places.

The bikes, which were developed by the Russian startup Hoversurf, debuted in early October at the Gulf Information Technology Exposition (GITEX) in Dubai. Like Hoversurf’s Scorpion-3 hoverbike, the police version is battery-powered and uses propellers at each corner to float like a drone. The newly-released model can reach maximum altitudes of 16 feet and move at speeds of up to 43 mph. Though the quadcopter can only carry one passenger at a time, it can withstand weights of up to 660 pounds. A fully charged battery is enough to fuel a 25-minute ride.

The futuristic addition to the force’s fleet of vehicles isn’t designed for chasing bad guys. Rather, the city hopes to use it to reach out-of-the-way spots during emergencies. If there’s a car wreck at the end of a traffic jam, for example, the Scorpion hoverbike could simply fly over the congestion and reach the scene faster than the department could with cars on the ground.

While cities around the world are still figuring out how low-flying drones and vehicles fit into pedestrian areas, Dubai has been quick to embrace the technology. In 2015, the city invested in jetpacks for first responders. While it's still unclear when the gadgets will be used in an official capacity, the CEO of Hoversurf has confirmed that mass production of the bikes is already underway.

[h/t Autoblog]


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