How to spot a deepfake? One simple trick is all you need

With criminals beginning to use deepfake video technology to spoof an identity in live online job interviews, security researchers have highlighted one simple way to spot a deepfake: just ask the person to turn their face sideways on. 

The reason for this as a potential handy authentication check is that deepfake AI models, while good at recreating front-on views of a person’s face, aren’t good at doing side-on or profile views like the ones you might see in a mug shot. 

Metaphysics.ai highlights the instability of recreating full 90° profile views in live deepfake videos, making the side profile check a simple and effective authentication procedure for companies conducting video-based online job interviews. 

Deepfakes or synthetic AI-enabled recreations of audio, image and video content of humans has been on the radar as a potential identity threat for several years.

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DARPA and NIH-Funded ‘Neuroengineers’ Create ‘Wireless Technology to Remotely Activate Specific Brain Circuits’ Using Magnetic Fields and Nanoparticles

A team of scientists led by Rice University “neuroengineers” has created wireless technology to “remotely activate specific brain circuits” on the sub-second timescale. To demonstrate the capability, the neuroengineers used magnetic fields to “activate targeted neurons that controlled the body position of freely moving fruit flies in an enclosure.” The scientists say this research furthers the drive toward the “holy grail of neurotechnologies”: remote control of select neural circuits with magnetic fields.

Incredibly, this use of magnetic fields to control select brain circuits remotely is not new technology. The technique is referred to as “magnetogenetics” and this particular demonstration—outlined in Nature Materials—mainly aims to demonstrate “precise temporal modulation of neural activity” on sub-second timescales as well as “stimulation of different groups of neurons” using varying digital signals.

Previously, the neuroengineers note in their paper, in vivo (in the body) response time of thermal magnetogenetics was on the order of tens of seconds, and was not able to stimulate different groups of neurons.

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The Story of Otis T. Carr: The Man Who Supposedly Invented An ‘Anti-Gravity’ Vehicle In The 1950s

It’s astonishing how the topic of “anti-gravity” technology is still placed in the “conspiracy theory” realm by some. This isn’t the stuff of conspiracy theories or “fringe” science, it’s a field full of reputable scientists, scholars, and real-world examples that have come not only from hard evidence but from extremely credible witness testimony.  History is littered with supposed examples that are surrounded by controversy. This article explores the story of a man by the name of Otis T. Carr (1904-1982).

In the late 1950s, OTC Enterprises, Inc. of Baltimore, Maryland put out a statement that was published in the April 3rd edition of the Baltimore Enterprise. The statement came in the form of a claim that the company was ready to manufacture a flying saucer that was capable of travelling outside of the Earth’s atmosphere. All that was needed was a massive amount of funding, approximately 20 million dollars. The equivalent to that today is probably several billion.

Now, keep in mind that this is the 1950s. There was a big wave of UFO sightings at this time, especially after the atomic bomb was dropped in Japan. The topic was getting a lot of mainstream media attention. Rumors of “crashed craft, and bodies recovered,” that Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell claimed were real were running rampant at this time. President Harry Truman even said, on national television, that they discuss these “UFOs” at every conference his government has had with the military. According to him at the time, “there’s always stuff like that going on.”

In March 2019, astrophysicist Eric W. Davis, who spent years working as a consultant for the Pentagon UFO program and is now a defense contractor, gave a classified briefing to the Defense Department on what he called “off-world vehicles not made on this earth.”

Did ‘the powers that be’ or ‘the military-industrial complex’ have flying saucer technology when Carr was alive? It’s not far fetched if you sift through the literature. Take, for example, this document from the Central Intelligence Agency’s Electronic reading room. The agency was keeping tabs on news regarding the topic abroad. There are tens and thousands of files that have been declassified showing this, including ones pertaining to Carr which we will get to later. The document reads as follows:

“A German newspaper recently published an interview with George Klein, famous German engineer and aircraft expert, describing the experimental construction of ‘flying saucers’ carried out by him from 1941 to 1945.”

The document goes on to describe how many people believed ‘flying saucers’ to be a postwar development and what it was capable of.

 “The “flying saucer” reached an altitude of 12,400 meters within 3 minutes and a speed of 2,200 kilometers per hour. Klein emphasized that in accordance with German plans, the speed of these “saucers” would reach 4,000 kilometers per hour. One difficulty, according to Klein, was the problem of obtaining the materials to be used for the construction of the “saucers,” but even this had been solved by German engineers toward the end of 1945, and construction on the objects was scheduled to begin, Klein added.”

Otis T. Carr had similar claims. These claims, although few in number, were global. Apparently, Carr put on numerous demonstrations for the public and amassed millions of dollars from extremely wealthy people to do so. If they did not believe him and if he had not shown some promise, how did he receive all of this funding?

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Humanized Yeast: Scientists Create Yeast With Important Human Genes

Delft University of Technology scientists have created baker’s yeast with human muscle genes.

Human muscle genes were successfully inserted into the DNA of baker’s yeast by biotechnologist Pascale Daran-Lapujade and her team at Delft University of Technology. For the first time, scientists have effectively inserted a crucial human characteristic into a yeast cell. Their research was recently published in the journal Cell Reports.

Daran-Lapujade’s lab introduced a characteristic to yeast cells that is regulated by a collection of 10 genes that humans cannot live without; they carry the blueprint for a process known as a metabolic pathway, which breaks down sugar to gather energy and produce cellular building blocks within muscle cells. Because this mechanism is involved in many disorders, including cancer, the modified yeast could be used in medical studies.

“Now that we understand the full process, medical scientists can use this humanized yeast model as a tool for drug screening and cancer research,” Daran-Lapujade says.

Humans and yeast are similar

According to Daran-Lapujade, there are a lot of similarities between yeast and a human being: “It seems weird since yeast lives as single cells and humans consist of a substantially more complex system, but the cells operate in a very similar way.”

As a result, scientists often transfer human genes into yeast. Because yeast removes all other interactions that may exist in the human body, it creates a clean environment in which researchers can analyze a single process.

“As compared to human cells or tissues, yeast is a fantastic organism for its simplicity to grow and its genetic accessibility: its DNA can be easily modified to address fundamental questions,” Daran-Lapujade explains. “Many pivotal discoveries such as the cell division cycle, were elucidated thanks to yeast.”

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The U.S. Army, not Meta, is building the metaverse

In terms of industry progress towards the cloud-supported, scalable metaverse, no organization has come further than the U.S. Army. Their Synthetic Training Environment (STE) has been in development since 2017. The STE aims to replace all legacy simulation programs and integrate different systems into a single, connected system for combined arms and joint training. 

The STE fundamentally differs from traditional, server-based approaches. For example, it will host a 1:1 digital twin of the Earth on a cloud architecture that will stream high fidelity (photo-realistic) terrain data to connected simulations. New terrain management platforms such as Mantle ETM will ensure that all connected systems operate on exactly the same terrain data. For example, trainees in a tank simulator will see the same trees, bushes and buildings as the pilot in a connected flight simulator, facilitating combined arms operations.

Cloud scalability (that is, scaling with available computational power) will allow for a better real-world representation of essential details such as population density and terrain complexity that traditional servers could not support. The ambition of STE is to automatically pull from available data resources to render millions of simulated entities, such as AI-based vehicles or pedestrians, all at once.

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This startup wants to copy you into an embryo for organ harvesting

In a search for novel forms of longevity medicine, a biotech company based in Israel says it intends to create embryo-stage versions of people in order to harvest tissues for use in transplant treatments.

The company, Renewal Bio, is pursuing recent advances in stem-cell technology and artificial wombs demonstrated by Jacob Hanna, a biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot. Earlier this week, Hanna showed that starting with mouse stem cells, his lab could form highly realistic-looking mouse embryos and keep them growing in a mechanical womb for several days until they developed beating hearts, flowing blood, and cranial folds. 

It’s the first time such an advanced embryo has been mimicked without sperm, eggs, or even a uterus. Hanna’s report was published in the journal Cell on Monday.

“This experiment has huge implications,” says Bernard Siegel, a patient advocate and founder of the World Stem Cell Summit. “One wonders what mammal could be next in line.”  

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1st synthetic mouse embryos — complete with beating hearts and brains — created with no sperm, eggs or womb

For the first time, scientists have created mouse embryos in the lab without using any eggs or sperm and watched them grow outside the womb. To achieve this feat, the researchers used only stem cells and a spinning device filled with shiny glass vials. 

The experiment is a “game changer,” Alfonso Martinez Arias, a developmental biologist at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona who was not involved in the research, told The Washington Post(opens in new tab). 

“This is an important landmark in our understanding of how embryos build themselves,” he said.

The breakthrough experiment, described in a report published Monday (Aug. 1) in the journal Cell(opens in new tab), took place in a specially designed bioreactor that serves as an artificial womb for developing embryos. Within the device, embryos float in small beakers of nutrient-filled solution, and the beakers are all locked into a spinning cylinder that keeps them in constant motion. This movement simulates how blood and nutrients flow to the placenta. The device also replicates the atmospheric pressure of a mouse uterus, according to a statement(opens in new tab) from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, where the research was conducted.    

In a previous experiment, described in the journal Nature(opens in new tab) in 2021, the team used this bioreactor to grow natural mouse embryos, which reached day 11 of development in the device. “That really showed that mammalian embryos can grow outside the uterus — it’s not really patterning or sending signals to the embryo so much as providing nutritional support,” Jacob Hanna, an embryonic stem cell biologist at the Weizmann and senior author of both studies, told STAT News

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The U.S. made a breakthrough battery discovery — then gave the technology to China

When a group of engineers and researchers gathered in a warehouse in Mukilteo, Wash., 10 years ago, they knew they were onto something big. They scrounged up tables and chairs, cleared out space in the parking lot for experiments and got to work.

They were building a battery — a vanadium redox flow battery — based on a design created by two dozen U.S. scientists at a government lab. The batteries were about the size of a refrigerator, held enough energy to power a house, and could be used for decades. The engineers pictured people plunking them down next to their air conditioners, attaching solar panels to them, and everyone living happily ever after off the grid.

“It was beyond promise,” said Chris Howard, one of the engineers who worked there for a U.S. company called UniEnergy. “We were seeing it functioning as designed, as expected.”

But that’s not what happened. Instead of the batteries becoming the next great American success story, the warehouse is now shuttered and empty. All the employees who worked there were laid off. And more than 5,200 miles away, a Chinese company is hard at work making the batteries in Dalian, China.

The Chinese company didn’t steal this technology. It was given to them — by the U.S. Department of Energy. First in 2017, as part of a sublicense, and later, in 2021, as part of a license transfer. An investigation by NPR and the Northwest News Network found the federal agency allowed the technology and jobs to move overseas, violating its own licensing rules while failing to intervene on behalf of U.S. workers in multiple instances.

Now, China has forged ahead, investing millions into the cutting-edge green technology that was supposed to help keep the U.S. and its economy out front.

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Researchers ‘revive’ organs in dead pigs, raising questions about life and death

Scientists have rebooted vital organs of dead pigs in an experiment bioethicists say may force a rethink of how the body dies, and that further blurs the boundaries between life and death.

Using a system dubbed “OrganEx” that uses special pumps and a cocktail of chemicals to restore oxygen and prevent cell death throughout the body, the Yale University team restored blood circulation and other cellular functions in multiple porcine organs an hour after the pigs’ deaths from cardiac arrest.

Electrical activity was restored in the heart, for instance. The muscle was contracting.

The study “reveals the underappreciated capacity for cellular recovery after prolonged whole-body warm ischemia (loss of blood circulation, and thus oxygen) in a large mammal,” the team r eports in the journal Nature .

The experiments also bolster findings from another Yale-led project three years ago that involved disembodied pigs’ brains. Using a similar perfusion system called BrainEx, researchers restored some functions in brains taken from pigs four hours after they were killed in a meatpacking plant.

That was an isolated organ. The team wondered, could they apply a similar approach on a whole-body scale?

Together, the research challenges old thinking that the body’s cells and organs begin to be irreversibly destroyed within minutes of the heart stopping. Instead, “cellular demise can be halted, and their state (can) be shifted towards recovery at molecular and cellular levels,” the Yale team writes in Nature.

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A transhuman biohacker implanted over 50 chips and magnets in her body

Though Anonym has described herself as genderless, she prefers the pronouns she or they.]

At the Grinderfest in 2019, Anonym inserted a little “pirate box” device in her upper right arm.

The “Grindfest”, according to cyborg Rich Lee, “is the kind of event where you can really put things in perspective.” As per Anonym, the event involves watching interesting films, putting together biohacking experiments, and discussing their results.

The “pirate box” was a file-sharing device –  a hard drive and WiFi router that creates a local wireless network.

It comprised a facility for USB storage and a WiFi antenna – users could connect to it via their phone or PC, wherein they could download and upload files. “…It was immediately clear this might make an interesting subdermal device,” Anonym wrote on her blog.

Over the next few days, the experimental device was readied to be inserted under human skin – extraneous components were taken out, the battery was replaced with a wireless charging coil, the USB storage was soldered down, and the box was coated with many layers of resin-type stuff to bio proof the device.

According to the blog, after a horizontal incision was carved in her arm, retractors held it open while a ‘pocket big enough to hold the device’ was made. The operation was a success, having used “shitloads of lidocaine”.

Eight months later, in 2020, Anonym revealed that the experiment had failed. She had accidentally whacked her arm on the door of a taxi, which in turn disrupted the area and irritated her skin – Lehpt was admitted to the hospital, where doctors insisted the device be removed.  

Despite some lingering nerve damage, the incident did not lower her morale. Her blog cites that she learned a few lessons that included – it was possible to share WiFi from inside yourself, it could be a great way to smuggle data, and its function as a cool way to transfer data has led various people to upload and download content, induction coils can work through the skin to power a device, and that miniaturization is extremely important. 

“The coolest implant I’ve had on would be the pirate box,” a self-assured Anonym tells IE.

In all, Anonym has more than 50 chips, magnets, and antennae implanted in her body, bestowing her with powers beyond the usual limit of a human.

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