Japan’s built a maglev passenger train that travels 500 km/h or 311 mp/h

Hurtling across Japan at 500 km/hour sounds pretty terrifying to us. But Japan has now built a maglev train that’s capable of hitting 501 km/h, and the first 100 passengers riding the train looks much smoother than we’d imagined.

The trial journey only stretched 42.8 km along a route between Uenohara and Fuefuki, two cities west of Tokyo. But this is just the first part of a track that will eventually connect Tokyo with Nagoya in the country’s centre.

That journey currently takes trains around 80 minutes, but the new maglev technology will cut the time in half to just 40 minutes. The full route is expected to be completed by 2027.

Once up and running, the train will be even faster than the Shanghai Maglev Train, which is currently the fastest commercial train in the world, capable of reading speeds of 431 km/hour.

Maglev technology, which is an abbreviated name for magnetic levitation, works by actually floating a train a short distance off its tracks and powering it forward using magnetic fields, rather than wheels, axels and bearings.

This means the trains are unaffected by weather, such as heavy rain on the tracks, and they’re also smoother and often quieter than the trains we’re used to now.

Which explains why the record-breaking ride in Japan looked like so much fun – we love the excitement of the passengers when the train hits 501 km/h.

And if you think this is impressive, China is working on creating a maglev train inside a near-vacuum that, in theory, can travel 2,900 km/h – three times faster than a plane – due to the lack of air resistance.

Meanwhile, Australia is stuck with trains that generally max out at a comparative crawl of around 160 km/h, and in the US the top speed of rail transport is around 240 km/h.

But when you look around the world, the future of transport is looking pretty bright.

Source: ScienceAlert


WireLurker Marks New Era Of Malware In Apple Devices

Researchers from Palo Alto Networks uncovered the largest malware attack against iOS devices, and the first attack of its kind to affect non-jailbroken devices on such a large scale. According to the report, there have been 467 infected Mac OS X applications that have been downloaded 356,104 times from the Chinese app store, Maiyadi, since March of this year. This malware is called WireLurker and is described as a “new era in OSX and iOS malware” by the researchers who discovered it.

The way this malware works is by infecting users’ Macs when they download an infected app from the Maiyadi app store and then connect their iPad or iPhone to the Mac through a USB cable.

After the two are connected, the Trojan installs infected iOS apps on the mobile devices through Apple’s “Enterprise Provisioning Profile” feature, which is normally used by businesses to install apps on their employees’ devices.

In this case, however, the feature was used to allow the malware to bypass the iPhone or iPad’s security. The user would still have to agree to use the app, but once he or she would click on “continue,” the infected app would be installed.

“WireLurker is unlike anything we’ve ever seen in terms of Apple iOS and OS X malware,” said Ryan Olson, Palo Alto Network’s intelligence director.

“The techniques in use suggest that bad actors are getting more sophisticated when it comes to exploiting some of the world’s best-known desktop and mobile platforms.”

The researchers said that the malware was able to steal “a variety of information” from the mobile devices, including phone numbers from the Contact app and the user’s Apple ID. The malware would also repeatedly make requests to the attacker’s command-and-control server.

Apple has already issued a statement about this attack:

“We are aware of malicious software available from a download site aimed at users in China, and we’ve blocked the identified apps to prevent them from launching,” it said.

“As always, we recommend that users download and install software from trusted sources.”

The bad news is that it seems Apple only blocked the infected apps, but at best that’s a short term solution. Apple will need to send an update to iOS that further restricts the use of Enterprise Provisioning Profile in consumer iPhones and iPads so that the devices won’t be able to install such infected apps anymore.

Because Apple doesn’t have such a solution out yet, it’s unclear whether this could fix the malware problem for the jailbroken devices, too. iOS devices that are jailbroken are usually much more vulnerable to infection because the user has administrator privileges, which means the attackers do, too.

To minimize the effect of this malware, the researchers who uncovered it recommended that the users:

  • Do not download Mac apps from third-party stores
  • Do not jailbreak iOS devices
  • Do not connect their iOS devices to untrusted computers and accessories, either to copy information or charge the machines
  • Do not accept requests for a new “enterprise provisioning profile” unless it comes from an authorized party, for example the employer’s IT department

The past few months have not been good to Apple from a security point of view. From the hacking of celebrity iCloud accounts, to having Chinese users’ traffic intercepted by the Chinese government, to this rather widespread malware infection of non-jailbroken iOS devices, it’s becoming clear that increasingly more attackers are attempting to infect or hack Apple devices.

Despite all of the security checks Apple has implemented in its hardware and software, it was only a matter of time before malicious hackers would turn their attention to iOS and Macs, given the rising popularity of these devices, globally. Apple may be able to fix these issues as quickly as they appear, but they can’t put the cat back in the bag. More hackers have their eyes on Apple’s devices now, and there’s little doubt that there will be more such attacks in the future.


Source: Toms Hardware


14 Tips to Help You Master Microsoft OneDrive

Microsoft has a problem when it comes to sticking with product names. With the exception of Windows and Office, it seems to re-brand everything it offers every few years. Sometimes it’s arbitrary (at least to customers). Sometimes it’s because of legalities.

Take FolderShare, for instance, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2005 and promptly renamed Windows Live FolderShare—because everything was called “Live” back then. In the years since, it has been Windows Live Mesh, Essentials, Live Folders, and SkyDrive.

SkyDrive is a great name, but it was taken. Sort of. Microsoft got sued in the U.K. by broadcaster BSkyB for using the word “Sky.” A court agreed that it infringed a trademark, and Microsoft had to rebrand again. In keeping with other products like OneNote and Xbox One, it went with OneDrive.

OneDrive really should be a bigger name than it is. But Microsoft isn’t as synonymous with cloud/sync as Dropbox or Google Drive The latter has the excellent integration of Docs and Sheets for online editing, but OneDrive has something arguably better: full integration with Office Online (formerly Office Web Apps; see what I mean about renaming?). Office Online houses the online versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Plus, OneDrive is integrated directly with Windows 8.1—no utility needed. All it takes to access OneDrive is a Microsoft account. The service will sync files between all your Windows and Mac computers, which you can access online via mobile apps and the Web.

OneDrive is a favorite of PCMag analysts. It also made a big splash last week announcing unlimited online storage for those with Office 365 Home ($99.99/year), Personal ($69.99/year), or University ($79.99 for four years). That’s not exactly free, but it’s full access to install and use all the Microsoft Office products, so think of OneDrive as a bonus. Limitless cloud storage is coming for OneDrive for Business in 2015.

That unrestricted storage is up from 15GB, which is still available to non-Office 365 subscribers. The only other service that comes close is Google Drive’s unlimited storage for education users. Files stored with OneDrive can also now be as big as 10GB, up from 2GB. (Dropbox file size is unlimited.)

But…so what? Lots of storage, you install the software to sync your files (or just turn it on in Windows 8), so you set it and forget it, right? You shouldn’t. There’s a lot more to OneDrive than that. Check out our list of tips in the slideshow. You’ll get the scoop on exactly what you need to take full advantage of a service that could be named Windows Live SkyFolderShareMeshDrive… but thankfully, is not.

Click To View Slideshow »


Original post by Eric Griffith Nov. 4, 2014


New solar material converts 90% of captured light into heat

New solar material converts 90% of captured light into heat

Scientists have created the ‘black hole of sunlight’ – a new nanoparticle-based material that absorbs and converts more than 90 percent of captured sunlight to heat.


Image: foxbat/Shutterstock

Research from the US have developed a super-Sun-absorbing material that will help concentrating solar power (CSP) plants to generate more electricity and run for longer – a huge step towards making solar a viable alternative to fossil fuels.

Traditional power plants burn coal or fossil fuel to create heat in the form of steam. This steam then turns a giant turbine that generates electricity from spinning magnets and conductor wire coils. One of the most promising clean energy technologies are CSP plants, which create the steam needed to turn the turbine by using sunlight to heat molten salt.

A world-first CSP plant has already proved that the steam generated by solar power is pressurized and hot enough to match that produced by fossil fuels.

Most CSP plants generate energy by using hundreds of thousands of large, reflective mirrors that concentrate sunlight at a tower that has been painted with a light-absorbing black paint material. Importantly, this electricity generated from the power of the Sun can be fed directly into our existing grid, and, because the mirrors can be used to concentrate light even on cloudy days, it overcomes many of the issues of solar panels.

But one downside is that the material that is currently used degrades quickly and needs to be reapplied once a year, meaning that CSP plants are shut down and no power can be generated in this time.

To combat this problem, scientists have developed a material that has a longer life cycle and allows for greater conversion of captured sunlight into heat.

Researchers from the University of California in the US created the new “multiscale” material by covering it in thousands of scale-like particles ranging from 10 nanometres to 10 micrometres. The material can withstand temperatures greater than 700 degrees Celsius, allowing it to more efficiently trap and absorb sunlight.

It can also tolerate exposure to air and humidity, enabling it to survive for many years in the outdoors. More importantly, these unique properties allow the material to convert more than 90 percent of captured sunlight to heat.

“We wanted to create a material that absorbs sunlight that doesn’t let any of it escape,” said Sungho Jin, engineer and one of the researchers,  In a press release. “We want the black hole of sunlight.”

CSP plants can produce around 3.5 gigawatt-hours of power per year, which is enough to power more than 2 million homes. The technology can easily retrofit existing power plants, as both use the same process to generate electricity.

The team are continuing their research by further extending the usage life of the material, and hope that the breakthrough will finally prove that solar is not only a cheaper and more sustainable source of energy than fossil fuels, but also that it’s more efficient.


Source: ScienceAlert


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