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Boffins use nuclear radiation to send data wirelessly
Monday, 15 November 2021 17:28

HTTP/2 200 date: Tue, 16 Nov 2021 13:00:10 GMT content-type: text/html; charset=UTF-8 link: ; rel=preload; as=script;,/3c2eb01941970a46697e479b4045551ef08b5f77/javascript/_.js>; rel=preload; as=script;,/default/aec273bc80dd0dc3a73edce687f7cdaa0e9ef0f5/scaffolding.css>; rel=preload; as=style;,/default/aec273bc80dd0dc3a73edce687f7cdaa0e9ef0f5/design.css>; rel=preload; as=style;,/5e49edbd1875f214e0decae1e24b200066780fa8/style/fonts/arimo/arimo-700.latin.woff2>; rel=preload; as=font; crossorigin;,/5e49edbd1875f214e0decae1e24b200066780fa8/style/fonts/arimo/arimo-400.latin.woff2>; rel=preload; as=font; crossorigin; cache-control: max-age=0 expires: Tue, 16 Nov 2021 13:00:10 GMT vary: Accept-Encoding x-reg-bofh: pfy01us x-clacks-overhead: GNU Terry Pratchett, Lester Haines x-content-type-options: nosniff cf-cache-status: DYNAMIC expect-ct: max-age=604800, report-uri="https://report-uri.cloudflare.com/cdn-cgi/beacon/expect-ct" server: cloudflare cf-ray: 6af0e691bff75a9c-MEL alt-svc: h3=":443"; ma=86400, h3-29=":443"; ma=86400, h3-28=":443"; ma=86400, h3-27=":443"; ma=86400 Scientists send data wirelessly using nuclear radiation • The Register

Shall we call it Die-Fi? Or NoTooth? Either would be unkind, as this experiment used little radiation, but much exotic hardware


Boffins from the UK's Lancaster University and the Jožef Stefan Institute in Slovenia have transmitted and received data wirelessly using nuclear radiation.

The Register assumes that readers understand that the wireless tech used in phone networks, WiFi, Bluetooth, TV transmissions and the like employ electromagnetic radiation, which is rather safer and less controversial than nuclear radiation.

But in a study titled Wireless information transfer with fast neutrons, scientists and engineers used nuclear radiation emitted by Californium-252 instead.

"Several examples of pertinent information, i.e., a word, the alphabet and a random number selected blindly, have been encoded serially into the modulation of the neutron field," the paper states.

The boffins did so because "Fast neutrons propagate significant distances and interact with materials in ways that are complementary to those of electromagnetic radiation. However, their consideration as a potential means of wireless communication has been limited to date despite this complementarity with the electromagnetic medium of choice for both near-and far-field communication systems."

Fast neutrons have been left to their own devices – or should that be left out of devices – because sources of fast neutrons are "highly regulated for reasons of security and exposure risk". That risk comes from the fact they can penetrate most matter and do very nasty things to the human body.

But the authors of the paper have spotted a research paper titled Novel Surface-Mounted Neutron Generator that describes a "pulsed neutron generator packaged in a flat computer chip shape". That invention, the authors write, "suggests the prospect of integrating sources of neutrons into intelligent systems which could, hypothetically, design out issues of security and risk".

Their research doesn't directly address the risk issues associated with fast neutrons, but does find they can carry information.

Making it work required some Californium-252, a tank of water, and plenty of hardware besides in the transmission rig.

On the receiving end, the boffins used an organic scintillation detector housed in an aluminium casing with an integrated photomultiplier tube, installed in a "bespoke high-density polyethylene shroud, to minimise the influence of neutron scatter from the surroundings".

Clearly this is not going in your carry-on bag any time soon. Nor will networking companies be afraid: very small quantities of data took more than 80 seconds to transmit.

Yet the authors note that they transmitted data without activating any isotopes into radioactivity and did so using so little radiation that it was "within regulatory constraints and with dose levels maintained to be as low as reasonably practicable".

"It is anticipated that in-circuit applications would function at fluences several orders of magnitude less than this," they write.

The paper does not get anywhere near suggesting the research signals a future nuclear upgrade to WiFi.

It does, however, note "the potential to modulate reactivity in a nuclear reactor".

"The capability we report here might afford a means to decode such a modulation, with which to better understand the key safety concerns associated with reactor responses to reactivity perturbations."

Nobody tell the folks behind Stuxnet about that suggestion, please. ®


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"We trust you are beginning to enjoy a more settled academic year," the letter seen by The Reg states. "The pandemic has had an impact on all of us, especially pupils and those responsible for their learning and development. As we closely return to our normal routines, it is time to share updates from within ESS and explain the simple actions for you to continue using SIMS - the UK's leading MIS [management information system] for schools."

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This vulnerability (CVE-2021-0146), identified by Positive Technologies, a security firm just sanctioned by the US, affects various Intel Atom, Celeron, and Pentium chips that were made in the past few years. It's one of 25 security holes Intel revealed last week.

The insecure chip hardware permits the "activation of test or debug logic at runtime for some Intel processors which may allow an unauthenticated user to potentially enable escalation of privilege via physical access," Intel explained in an advisory, which rates the bug with a CVSS score of 7.1. Exploitation of the hole does require physical access to the chips, an important caveat to note.

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HTTP/2 200 date: Tue, 16 Nov 2021 13:00:10 GMT content-type: text/html; charset=UTF-8 link: ; rel=preload; as=script;,/3c2eb01941970a46697e479b4045551ef08b5f77/javascript/_.js>; rel=preload; as=script;,/default/aec273bc80dd0dc3a73edce687f7cdaa0e9ef0f5/scaffolding.css>; rel=preload; as=style;,/default/aec273bc80dd0dc3a73edce687f7cdaa0e9ef0f5/design.css>; rel=preload; as=style;,/5e49edbd1875f214e0decae1e24b200066780fa8/style/fonts/arimo/arimo-700.latin.woff2>; rel=preload; as=font; crossorigin;,/5e49edbd1875f214e0decae1e24b200066780fa8/style/fonts/arimo/arimo-400.latin.woff2>; rel=preload; as=font; crossorigin; cache-control: max-age=0 expires: Tue, 16 Nov 2021 13:00:10 GMT vary: Accept-Encoding x-reg-bofh: pfy01us x-clacks-overhead: GNU Terry Pratchett, Lester Haines x-content-type-options: nosniff cf-cache-status: DYNAMIC expect-ct: max-age=604800, report-uri="https://report-uri.cloudflare.com/cdn-cgi/beacon/expect-ct" server: cloudflare cf-ray: 6af0e691bff75a9c-MEL alt-svc: h3=":443"; ma=86400, h3-29=":443"; ma=86400, h3-28=":443"; ma=86400, h3-27=":443"; ma=86400 Scientists send data wirelessly using nuclear radiation • The Register

Shall we call it Die-Fi? Or NoTooth? Either would be unkind, as this experiment used little radiation, but much exotic hardware


Boffins from the UK's Lancaster University and the Jožef Stefan Institute in Slovenia have transmitted and received data wirelessly using nuclear radiation.

The Register assumes that readers understand that the wireless tech used in phone networks, WiFi, Bluetooth, TV transmissions and the like employ electromagnetic radiation, which is rather safer and less controversial than nuclear radiation.

But in a study titled Wireless information transfer with fast neutrons, scientists and engineers used nuclear radiation emitted by Californium-252 instead.

"Several examples of pertinent information, i.e., a word, the alphabet and a random number selected blindly, have been encoded serially into the modulation of the neutron field," the paper states.

The boffins did so because "Fast neutrons propagate significant distances and interact with materials in ways that are complementary to those of electromagnetic radiation. However, their consideration as a potential means of wireless communication has been limited to date despite this complementarity with the electromagnetic medium of choice for both near-and far-field communication systems."

Fast neutrons have been left to their own devices – or should that be left out of devices – because sources of fast neutrons are "highly regulated for reasons of security and exposure risk". That risk comes from the fact they can penetrate most matter and do very nasty things to the human body.

But the authors of the paper have spotted a research paper titled Novel Surface-Mounted Neutron Generator that describes a "pulsed neutron generator packaged in a flat computer chip shape". That invention, the authors write, "suggests the prospect of integrating sources of neutrons into intelligent systems which could, hypothetically, design out issues of security and risk".

Their research doesn't directly address the risk issues associated with fast neutrons, but does find they can carry information.

Making it work required some Californium-252, a tank of water, and plenty of hardware besides in the transmission rig.

On the receiving end, the boffins used an organic scintillation detector housed in an aluminium casing with an integrated photomultiplier tube, installed in a "bespoke high-density polyethylene shroud, to minimise the influence of neutron scatter from the surroundings".

Clearly this is not going in your carry-on bag any time soon. Nor will networking companies be afraid: very small quantities of data took more than 80 seconds to transmit.

Yet the authors note that they transmitted data without activating any isotopes into radioactivity and did so using so little radiation that it was "within regulatory constraints and with dose levels maintained to be as low as reasonably practicable".

"It is anticipated that in-circuit applications would function at fluences several orders of magnitude less than this," they write.

The paper does not get anywhere near suggesting the research signals a future nuclear upgrade to WiFi.

It does, however, note "the potential to modulate reactivity in a nuclear reactor".

"The capability we report here might afford a means to decode such a modulation, with which to better understand the key safety concerns associated with reactor responses to reactivity perturbations."

Nobody tell the folks behind Stuxnet about that suggestion, please. ®


Other stories you might like

Users of Google's Nest Hub are reporting problems with the smart screen, with some comparing its functionality to that of a brick.

Except bricks have their uses, while a Google Nest Hub suddenly rendered frozen has little purpose beyond that of a paperweight.

The Google Home Hub (later called Nest Hub) debuted in 2018. Bearing a marked resemblance to Amazon's Echo Show, the device's purpose is to provide a visual user interface for supported smart home devices, as well the functions of the Google Home device. We can imagine many ending up doing duty as smart speakers or digital photo-frames. That's assuming they actually work.

Continue readingEnterprise Software Solutions tells school customers: We are moving to 3-year licensing contracts and so are you Some punters not happy with former Capita-owned biz, now under control of Montagu Private Equity

Education Software Solutions – a one-time Capita-owned school software provider now under the control of Montagu Private Equity – is being marked down by customers for moving to minimum three-year licensing contracts.

Sold in December for £400m, ESS has become part of the same group as ParentPay, run by CEO Mark Brant, who wrote to school customers last week.

"We trust you are beginning to enjoy a more settled academic year," the letter seen by The Reg states. "The pandemic has had an impact on all of us, especially pupils and those responsible for their learning and development. As we closely return to our normal routines, it is time to share updates from within ESS and explain the simple actions for you to continue using SIMS - the UK's leading MIS [management information system] for schools."

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The framework represents a step away from the giant data centres beloved by the cloud behemoths in favour of something a little more sustainable. Also, as OpenUK's Sustainability advisor and CEO of Greengame Cristian Parrino put it, it "isn't about code."

In fact, Parrino went on, using the word "blueprint is almost a misuse," as the framework itself is more about encouraging organisations to consider something a bit more energy efficient in the build, design and operation of data centres.

Continue reading

A SAP patent was not "inventive enough" to be legally binding, according to a US judge in an intellectual property case which also saw Teradata's claim in the dispute reduced.

The federal judge in California last week trimmed down claims from both sides of an ongoing dispute over a joint venture the firms entered into back in 2008.

Teradata alleged that the German software company used the JV to try to access the US company's intellectual property and build its HANA in-memory database, which it would try to get its customers to use, according to a 2018 filing at the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

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Sheffield University's failed Student Lifecycle Project went through three leaders, several changes in scope and was ultimately superseded by government policy change before the bulk of the £30m project was abandoned in what is shaping up to be a classic IT disaster.

As The Register reported, the original plans for the Russell Group university's Student Lifecycle Project (SLP) – a £30.4m scheme to build a new system for managing student records – has been ditched.

Continue readingIntel's recent Atom, Celeron, Pentium chips can be lulled into a debug mode, potentially revealing system secrets Testing times for Chipzilla as it emits patches to protect PCs, equipment

Certain Intel processors can be slipped into a test mode, granting access to low-level keys that can be used to, say, unlock encrypted data stored in a stolen laptop or some other device.

This vulnerability (CVE-2021-0146), identified by Positive Technologies, a security firm just sanctioned by the US, affects various Intel Atom, Celeron, and Pentium chips that were made in the past few years. It's one of 25 security holes Intel revealed last week.

The insecure chip hardware permits the "activation of test or debug logic at runtime for some Intel processors which may allow an unauthenticated user to potentially enable escalation of privilege via physical access," Intel explained in an advisory, which rates the bug with a CVSS score of 7.1. Exploitation of the hole does require physical access to the chips, an important caveat to note.

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A company statement headlined “Splunk Announces CEO Transition” offers no reason for Merritt’s departure.

Indeed, the document offers a good reason to keep him around, by revealing preliminary Q3 2021 revenue of “approximately $660 million, representing 19 per cent year over year growth.”

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"Absent a stay, ChinaTelAmericas will be forced to cease significant operations, irreparably harming its business, reputation, and relationships," according to the appeal filed with the US Appeals Court for the District of Columbia on Monday.

The carrier requested a decision by Friday, December 3, citing December 4 as the day the company must notify customers of service discontinuation.

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More than a dozen US states have filed yet another amended complaint against Google to include what they say is more evidence of the web giant abusing its dominant position in online advertising.

The legal spat spearheaded by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is an ambitious attempt to crack down on the super-corporation. Together, 16 states plus Puerto Rico have repeatedly amended their lawsuit to include more evidence that support their claims Google has violated the Sherman Antitrust Act to establish and maintain control of the online advertising industry.

"Just because Attorney General Paxton asserts something doesn’t make it true. This lawsuit is riddled with inaccuracies," a spokesperson for Google told The Register.

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Senior vice president Anton Gostev's weekly missive to the Veeam community yesterday detailed how the November 2020 version 10 release of the vendor's software changed customer behaviour.

Gostev reported that of the five largest object storage repositories tended by Veeam, three were in Azure blob storage, on was in on-premises S3-compatible storage and the other was in Amazon S3. These individual object storage repositories were also five times larger than those Veeam had seen before, and ranged from from 1.8PB to 1PB.

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The cloud of debris was generated when Cosmos 1408, a 2,200-kg defunct signals intelligence satellite launched in 1982, was blown up by a Russian anti-satellite missile. The US Department of State condemned the experiment for endangering “human spaceflight activities.”

“Earlier today, the Russian Federation recklessly conducted a destructive satellite test of a direct-ascent anti-satellite missile against one of its own satellites,” the department’s spokesperson Ned Price said at a press briefing on Monday. “The test has so far generated over 1,500 pieces of trackable orbital debris and hundreds of thousands of pieces of smaller orbital debris that now threaten the interests of all nations.

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Source: https://bit.ly/30sbiWG