• 10-micron-wide flowers can bloom just like the real thing

    A team of researchers from the RMIT-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology Research Centre has developed a technique to create 10-micron-wide flower-like structures that bloom like the real thing. The group mixed two ingredients in water to make that happen: NDI-bearing phosphonic acid and melamine. As the water evaporates, the components undergo a chemical reaction that resembles a flower blooming. It takes three hours for the combination to fully form, which you can see below the fold. Note that each "flower" is so small, the researchers say you can fit ten along the width of a single human hair strand.

  • Scottrade learned about a data breach from law enforcement

    Companies typically find out about data breaches first-hand, and bring in the police after the fact to (hopefully) identify the culprits. Unfortunately, Scottrade didn't even have that luxury: the investment firm only learned about a huge breach after federal law enforcement showed up at its door with word of an ongoing investigation. The intruders compromised roughly 4.6 million accounts between late 2013 and early 2014. They focused primarily on snagging contact information, but the targeted system also included information as sensitive as Social Security numbers.

  • Listen to a 'CD' made from fool's gold, powered by a Raspberry Pi

    What's music to some is noise to others. And that's perhaps most apparent with Ra the latest piece from the creator of an 8-bit camera gun, ::vtol::. As the artist writes in the demo's Vimeo description, the project uses a laser to scan the irregularities on the surface of a pyrite disc. The artist, real-name Dimitry Morozov, says that this disc was a gift from a mineral seller and that all of the tech present was centered around the idea of making a laser sound reader that'd "be able to produce sound from various uneven surfaces." Oh, and Morozov wanted to use the bare minimum tools to make it. What do those include? A Raspberry Pi, Arduino Nano, a homemade laser pickup, stepper motor, servo motor and a three watt mono sound system. If you want to see it in action, you're going to have to hit the Sound Museum in St. Petersburg.

  • Google is now Alphabet, the owner of Google

    The paperwork is filed and it's official: Google has restructured itself into Alphabet. As of the close of business today shares of the old Google are now part of Alphabet, which counts Google as a subsidiary. On our end, this doesn't change much – unless you're a big fan of Ingress or Pokemon – but now leaders Sergey Brin and Larry Page can chase innovations in seemingly unrelated areas. Sundar Pichai will keep running day-to-day operations at the new Google, except now with the title of CEO. Google now includes Android, Search, YouTube, Apps, Maps and Ads. Meanwhile, Alphabet can focus on Google Fiber (high speed internet), Calico and Life Sciences (health), Google Ventures and Google Capital (investments), Nest (home automation) and Google X (everything fun, like drone deliveries and self-driving cars).

  • Japan Display crammed 8K into a 17-inch LCD

    In 2015, we want our displays to be sharper, brighter and even wrapped around the edges of our smartphones (maybe). Now, Japan Display has pushed the limits of screen resolution yet again by announcing a 17.3-inch 8K LCD module capable of running at a smooth frame rate of 120Hz. If you're trying to get your head around how many pixels that involves, JD is way ahead of you: it's 510 pixels per inch. The manufacturer says that the high resolution will offer an element of depth to images, and that it could be ideal for video-editing, medical displays and even as gaming screens. Unfortunately, that's all we know for now, but the LCD will be at CEATEC 2015 with all its millions of pixels on show.

  • Asteroid hit and volcanoes linked as suspects in dinosaur extinction

  • BBM app lands on Apple Watch before WhatsApp

  • Tidal's music-streaming service reaches 1 million subscribers

  • TrueCrypt Windows encryption app has critical security flaws

    If you're still using TrueCrypt to protect your Windows disks, even though its developers abandoned it and said it was "not secure" last year, you may want to stop that. Google Project Zero researcher James Forshaw found two "privilege elevation" holes in the popular software that would give attackers full access to your data. Worse yet, TrueCrypt was audited earlier this by a crowdfunded team of iSec security researchers and found to be error-free. Google's James Forshaw said on Twitter that the miss was understandable, though: "iSec phase 1 audit reviewed this specific code but Windows drivers are complex beasts (and) easy to miss."

  • Self-assembling material could produce artificial veins

    Most attempts at creating artificial veins don't come close to replicating organic processes, but researchers at the Queen Mary University of London might change that. They've developed a technique that makes proteins and peptides self-assemble into tubular shapes that could stand in as arteries, veins and similar structures. There's no 3D printing or moulds involved – you only need to guide the material as it builds itself. It can even grow and heal, so you're not stuck if it needs improvements.