Sweeping advances in precision technologies.

When we think of 3D printing, we usually think of stuff on the macroscale, like automobile engines or replacement parts of some kind. Unless it's in another context, however, we rarely stop to consider the applications of this technology on a finer scale. A couple of weeks back a research team at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany announced a breakthrough: The Nanoscribe, a 3D printer which uses laser light to selectively harden liquid plastic in a successive deposition process. The Nanoscribe can fabricate objects the width of a human hair with amazing precision and a fair amount of …

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Because it's a solvable problem.

There seem to be a couple of problems inherent in the tech field of prosthetic design. First and foremost of them is that comparatively few people need artificial limbs, so not enough of them are manufactured at once to bring the cost down. A second problem is that because so few people tend to need them, designs don't seem to improve very rapidly. When enough of anything are not constructed, there isn't enough pressure for bugs to be ironed out rapidly, nor for designs to evolve in positive directions so relatively simple advances may not appear soon. Business and industry …

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Practical man in the middle attack against quantum crypto published.

A long-standing problem in cryptography has been the sharing of secrets (understatement of the century, right?) Assuming that your communication medium can't be trusted because anyone and everyone could be listening in, how do you distribute keys to everyone you want to securely contact? The most obvious method is to meet up with everyone and hand them the keying material personally. However that way fraught with problems, from your courier getting ganked for the keying material to a simple matter of common sense: if you're going to meet with the intended recipient, why not just tell them and not bother …

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More advances in quantum cryptographic keying methods.

In slightly less technical terms, researchers at the Toshiba Research Europe facility in Cambridge, England have figured out how to make it harder for eavesdroppers to steal keying information from a quantum cryptosystem (registration required, Bugmenot has login credentials for this site). For an attacker to have a chance at breaking a quantum cryptosystem, he or she would have to splice a tap into the optical fibre which connects the two crypto units and record the pulses of light that encode the key used to encrypt the data. There are ways to use the principles of quantum mechanics to detect …

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