Category Archives: Technology, science, and math

We sure Ken Paxton isn’t investing in VPNs?

I mean… When she saw that Pornhub was disabling access in Texas, Express VPN privacy advocate Lauren Hendry Parsons’s reaction was rooted in what she’s seen the past few years. “Honestly, all I thought was, here we go again,” Parsons … Continue reading

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ERCOT and the AI demand boom

Once again we ask, can our grid keep up? The rapid expansion of data centers, fueled by the rise of artificial intelligence platforms and the increasing digitization of the economy, is driving a surge in electricity demand in Texas and … Continue reading

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Hearing the eclipse

This is cool. Blind and low-vision people across North America will be able to experience the upcoming total solar eclipse, thanks to a handheld device that translates light into sound. The LightSound Box is a tool designed specifically to help … Continue reading

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Sure, Pornhub could verify identities and ages if they wanted to

But that’s not the point. House Bill 1181, which was passed in June and went into effect in September, says that any entity publishing pornographic material must require a visitor to provide digital identification or use a commercial age verification … Continue reading

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Texas colleges and AI

Interesting story. When Taylor Eighmy talks to people about the growth of artificial intelligence in society, he doesn’t just see an opportunity — he feels a jolt of responsibility. The president of The University of Texas at San Antonio said … Continue reading

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NASA needs more Mars simulation astronauts

Your next job opportunity. NASA is seeking applicants to participate in its next simulated one-year Mars surface mission to help inform the agency’s plans for human exploration of the Red Planet. The second of three planned ground-based missions called CHAPEA … Continue reading

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“Facial authentication”

I’m still thinking about how I feel about this. The Astros will be one of four Major League Baseball teams using facial authentication technology at this year’s opening day in an effort to speed up fans’ entry through the gates … Continue reading

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Ampelognathus coheni

Of all of the potentially attainable achievements I could imagine for my life, finding a new dinosaur fossil seems like the coolest. A new dog-sized dinosaur species has been discovered after a small fossil of a jawbone was found outside … Continue reading

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Christmas trees and climate change

Sorry to be a grinch. Christmas tree breeder Jim Rockis knows what it looks like when one dies long before it can reach a buyer. Rockis farms trees in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, where he and other producers often grow … Continue reading

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Crypto ATM data breach

I have three things to say about this. People who used Coin Cloud cryptocurrency ATMs — a brand that was installed in some H-E-B stores beginning in 2021 — may have had their personal information compromised by hackers. The San … Continue reading

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A deeper look at de-extinctioning

Really good stuff. You are wandering the forests of Mauritius, an oyster-shaped island east of Madagascar, when you spy a dodo, a bird famous for being as dead as one can possibly be. Yet this dodo waddles before you, pecking … Continue reading

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Dodo update

Everyone needs a home. After years of working on bringing back one of the most popular extinct animals — the dodo — Colossal Biosciences has found a home for its bird in Mauritius in a new partnership with the Mauritian … Continue reading

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Woolly mammoth de-extinctioning

Here we go. In a historic building in Deep Ellum, a colossal effort is underway to bring some of the most famously extinct animals back to life. The wild mission comes from a Dallas-based company called Colossal Biosciences which is … Continue reading

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Data from Dallas County cyberattack allegedly posted online

We’ll see how bad this is. Data allegedly from the recent cyber attack on Dallas County systems has been posted online, county officials confirmed on Tuesday. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said officials were “aware of an unauthorized party posting … Continue reading

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Harris County provider of mental health services victimized by ransomware

Too close for comfort. Harris County officials had few details to add Thursday morning about the investigation into a recent ransomware attack on the county’s provider for mental health services, saying cybersecurity experts had recommended they not share information. “As … Continue reading

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Dallas County says it successfully defended itself against that cyber attack

Very good news if true. Dallas County said Tuesday that an attempt to hack into its computer systems earlier this month has been thwarted and staff are continuing to investigate the incident. The county announced on its website that its … Continue reading

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Dallas County suffers ransomware attack

Add them to the list. Dallas County experienced a cybersecurity incident this month that affected parts of its network, an official confirmed on Monday. In a statement to Recorded Future News, Dallas County Judge Clay Lewis Jenkins said that there … Continue reading

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Carbon capture project coming

Cool. A carbon removal project south of Corpus Christi is one of two sites selected by the Department of Energy to receive up to $1.2 billion to support the development of direct air capture technology. The project, which is being … Continue reading

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Hydrogen hub Houston happens

Nice. The Texas Gulf Coast has been selected by the Biden administration as a clean hydrogen hub, one of seven locations across the United States set to receive billions of dollars in federal funding and private investment to help develop … Continue reading

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Lots of people will not get that latest COVID shot

Sadly not a big surprise. We could move this at the margins, but not as long as any part of government is in Republican control. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends new covid-19 booster vaccines for all — … Continue reading

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“Mars” mission update

Keep these coming, please and thank you. Ultra runner Kelly Haston is not going stir-crazy inside her 1,700-square-foot Martian habitat, and that’s a pleasant surprise. “It is comfortable and spacious, and I do not yet miss being outside,” Haston said. … Continue reading

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Time for your next COVID shot

I’m ready. The U.S. approved updated COVID-19 vaccines Monday, hoping to rev up protection against the latest coronavirus strains and blunt any surge this fall and winter. The Food and Drug Administration decision opens the newest shots from Moderna and … Continue reading

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Another data point on ransomware

And other cybersecurity incidents, from the FBI. A series of cyberattacks across Texas, including some in the Houston region, are part of a growing statewide and national trend of increasingly sophisticated groups working through computers to steal money and information, … Continue reading

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Lots of people were affected by that Dallas ransomware attack

Not great. Computer hackers accessed the personal information of at least 26,212 Texans in a ransomware attack on the city of Dallas, according to an official disclosure made public Monday, three months after the breach. The city’s notice to the … Continue reading

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The Harris Health System data breach

While a lot of the cybersecurity incidents that I’ve been tracking here could have been prevented by the entities that suffered them, this is an exception. And also a reminder. Patient information was exposed in a cyberattack that affected the Harris Health … Continue reading

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HCA Healthcare hacked

A national breach with Houston connections. HCA Healthcare, which operates more than a dozen hospitals in the Houston area, announced that personal information from as many as 11 million patients nationwide has been stolen in a data breach and could be sold … Continue reading

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Malaria

Time for something new to worry about. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning doctors and public health officials about a handful of locally acquired cases of malaria. There hasn’t been a case of malaria caught locally … Continue reading

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On destigmatizing UFOs

I agree with this. NASA wants to remove the stigma around reporting and researching UFOs. During a public meeting on Wednesday, NASA said its 16-member team of independent experts had been harassed for helping create a strategy to better categorize … Continue reading

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Fort Worth data exposure

This one is a little different. A hacker group has leaked internal data from the City of Fort Worth’s online systems, city officials announced Saturday. The city was notified around 4 p.m. Friday a group called SiegedSec had downloaded data … Continue reading

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Off to “Mars”

Good luck, y’all. Nathan Jones wondered if his family could play Uno with an up to 22-minute communications delay — each way. Ross Brockwell convinced a lifelong friend to manage his miscellaneous affairs, and Kelly Haston stockpiled videos of friends … Continue reading

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Dallas improves its cybersecurity

Good to see. The Dallas City Council approved a nearly $4 million deal Wednesday to get a new system that alerts the city’s information technology department of possible cyber attacks. The approval comes as the city is nearly two months … Continue reading

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Add Stephen F. Austin University to the list of recent cyberattack victims

Not a lot of detail here, but these things are never good. More than a week after Stephen F. Austin State University was hit with a cyberattack, leaders at the public university in the East Texas Pineywoods are still working … Continue reading

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COVID immunity update

Fascinating stuff. Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, were present in the blood of 96.4% of Americans over the age of 16 by September 2022. That’s according to a serosurvey – an analysis testing for the presence of these immune defense molecules … Continue reading

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Pearland ISD data breach

I don’t mean for this sort of thing to become my beat, but it is very much of interest to me, and should be of interest to you. Pearland ISD has notified current and former students that their private information … Continue reading

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