Controlling genes by thought, DNA sequencing in 90 minutes, and cellular memory.

  biotech computing cybernetics data dna eeg forensics genetic_engineering genetics hardware law_enforcement optogenetics sequencing storage

A couple of years ago the field of optogenetics, or genetically engineering responsiveness to visible light to exert control over cells was born. In a nutshell, genes can be inserted into living cells that allow certain functions to be switched on or off (such as the production of a certain hormone or protein) in the presence or absence of a certain color of light. Mostly, this has only been done on an experimental basis to bacteria, to figure out what it might be good for. As it happens to turn out, optogenetics is potentially good for quite a lot of …

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Cutting the power doesn't necessarily mean that memory is cleared.

  bitlocker canned_air computers cooling crypto data dimms disk_encryption dm_crypt dram extraction filevault forensics information_decay keying_information linux liquid_nitrogen mac_osx memory netboot physical_attack power precomputat

It has long been a piece of grassroots wisdom that when the power to your computer goes dead, you're up a certain creek without a means of propulsion: Whatever you were doing at the time had gone to the great bit bucket in the sky, and unless you'd just saved your work you could kiss your next couple of hours goodbye while reconstructing everything. However, from a technical standpoint this isn't actually true. Modern-day DRAM can actually hold usable data for a finite but non-zero period of time after the main power's been cut off. This has actually been known …

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Portable power for search and seizure.

  computers disconnection forensics full_disk_encryption hotplug power search seizure

A major problem faced by data forensics professionals and law enforcement was how to confiscate computer systems without running the risk of damaging or losing access to information. It's all well and good if you seize a machine running full-disk encryption while it's online because, by definition, the disk is being transparently decrypted so that the machine can operate. Once you power it down, however, all bets are off because the machine won't boot back up without someone supplying a passphrase to the disk encryption system, and no one with anything shady in mind is going to give up their …

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